Strain and Subcultural theories

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  • Sub cultural theories share the common beliefs that those that commit crimes usually share different values from the majority (law obiding peeps.. However they dont believe in the complete opposite.
  • They have 'amended' certain values to justify their criminal behavior.
  • strain is used as a term refer to the explanations of criminal behavior which argues that crim behavior is  the result of people being placed in a position where they are unable to conform to the values& beliefs of society.
  • Critisisms of Merton: Assumes that there is a value consensus. His theory is also accused of being too determenistic as it doesnt say why people who experience anomie become criminals or deviant.
  • The illegitimate opportunity structure- cloward and ohlin
  • Argued that merton had only explained devience in terms of legitimate opportunity structutre but failed to consider the illigitmate opportunity structure. 
  • By Cloward and Ohlin examining access to and opportunity for entry into illigitimate opportunity provided an explanation for differnt forms of deviance
  • they explained working class delinquency the same as merton; that there is greater pressure on members of the WC to become deviant as they are less likey to succeed by legit means.
  • They discovered 3 reasons for this:
  • Criminal subcult: Theres a thriving local criminal subcult which young offenders can work their way up the ladder
  • Conflict subculture: Ther isnt a local criminal subculture to provide a career opportunity…


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