Crime and Deviance - Subcultural theory

  • Subcultural theories build upon the work of Merton
  • They say that deviance is a result of individuals conforming to the values and normas of a social group which they belong to, if you belong to a social group whose norms differ from those of the main society then you will become deviant 

Cohen - Mods and rockers 

  • Lower working class boys want to achieve the success which is valued by mainstream culture, but due to educational failure and the dead-end jobs that result from this, they have little chance of achieving these goals 
  • This results in status frustration; the boys are at the bottom of the social structure and have little chance of gaining a higher status in society 
  • Cohen believe that they do not turn to crime, they reject the norms and values of mainstream  society and instead turn to the norms and values of delinquent subcultures 

Cloward and Ohlin 

  • Developed Cohen's theory 
  • They said that there are three different types of subcultures 

Criminal subculture 

  • Tend to emerge in areas where there is a lot of organised adult crime, here they are criminal role models for young people, they learn how to commit criminal acts

Conflict subculture

  • Tend to emerge in areas where there is little organised adult crime, so instead of learning how to…


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