Cloward and Ohlin

Merton and Cohen

Development and modification of Merton and Cohen

Criticisms of Merton:

1) Doesn't explain the different forms that deviance takes e.g. some gangs rob, while others vandalise.

2) Explanation is incomplete - only considers legitimate opportunity structure not unequal nature of illegitimate opportunity structure.

Three responses:

A) Criminal subcultures

B) Conflict subcultures

C) Retreatist subcultures

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Criminal subcultures

They emerge in areas where there is a pattern of organized adult crime. The young are exposed to criminal skills and role models, which they have the opportunity to recieve an apprenticeship in crime.

Those who perform the deviant values successfully, they have the chance to rise in the professional criminal hierarchy.

Concerned with crimes bringing monetary reward.

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Conflict subcultures

Develop in areas where there is little opportunity for access to illegitimate opportunity structures because there is a high turnover of population and a lack of unity and cohesiveness. 

Access to illegitimate and legitimate opportunity structures is blocked.

Gang violence results as an outlet for frustration and means of obtaining prestige in terms of the subcultural values by winning 'turf' from rival gangs. 

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Retreatist subcultures

Organised around illegal drug use because lower class adolescents have failed to succeed in illegtimate and legitmate opportunity structures.

They are double failures and as failed criminals/gang members they seek escapism in retreatist subcultures. 

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1) The most sophisticated version of structural and subcultural theory.

By developing and combining Merton and Cohen's ideas and adding the notion of illgetimate opportunity structure, they attempted to explain the variety of forms that deviance might take.

2) A class biased theory - assumes that most crime is working class and ignores the crimes of the wealthy and powerful. 

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