Subculture theories + alternative

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  • Created by: Flossie12
  • Created on: 06-01-16 18:20

MERTON strain theory

Someone commits deviant behaviour when they are unable to achieve socially approved goals e.g American Dream is to own a big house and drive a fast car but a working class person unable to achieve these materialistic goals may resort to illegitimate means to achieve them. Merton argues this is due to structural (unequal society) factors and cultural (society's emphasis on success) factors.

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COHEN status frustration

Working class boys denied superior status in education e.g being placed in lower streams revert to gain status through peers by opposing values of society and the education system. E.g politeness= rude/disrespectful=appear fearless and gain peer status.

+explains acts of vandalism (person gains peer status) and shows deviance can be learnt through peer groups (able to stop it at source)

  • relates deviance for need for status and why w/c boys more likely to be deviant/criminal.
    -doesn't explain middle class and female crime
    -assumes boys share same middle class goals and when they fail to reach goals turn to gain status. The boys might never have shared theses goals and so don't see themselves as failures.
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CLOWARD AND OHLIN opportunity structure

Three forms of deviant subcultures with access to different opportunities:

1. Criminal- stable wc community has a career web in crime

2.Conflict- violent gangs in highly populated area with no social unity or informal social control

3. Retreatist- 'double failures' failed legitimate and illegitimate op structures and so turn to illegal drug and alcohol use.

+provide explanations for different criminal subcultures

-ignores those who overlap the subcultures

-suggests a clear hierarchy of criminal subcultures and assumes everyone wants to start off in the criminal subculture.

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MILLER focal concerns

W/c have 6 main ideologies= delinquency: FEASTT

Fate- little chance to change their position
Excitement- thrills of crime (unemployed=bored)
Autonomous- crime resists authority
Smartness- ability to not get caught
Tough- proves masculinity
Trouble- acceptance of violence
+importance of socialisation of family and peers
+root cause for deviance in society and why there's al-funding bodies e.g government impose time limits on research because under pressure from media and public for quick results and so questionnaires usedays been crime
-generalises working class youth
-exaggerates difference in values between classes

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MATZA delinquency and drift

>delinquent behaviour driven by subterranean values (values based on excitement and toughness) which mainstream society releases through sport and work. Delinquents release through deviance.
>after acts of deviancy some shoe remote or guilt=suggests they do follow mainstream values but only continue to commit by justifying it through techniques of neutralisation
>deviant acts aren't planned and criminals the same as everybody else
>they drift in and out of the deviant subculture
+explains reoffending rates and explains why some commit only occasionally
-explains why people commit crimes only occasionally

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ALTERNATIVE Labelling Theory

The labelling theory offers an alternative explaination into crime and deviance:
If a person is caught being a deviant they are labelled negatively as a criminal and they internalise these feelings and become a self-fulfilling prophecy where they start to believe it and likely carry on being deviant because they believe that's all they are. Lemert argues this becomes their 'master status' and are only identified as a deviant.

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