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Subcultural theorists


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Albert Cohen
Argues that certain boys that struggle to achieve success through the education system then turn to crime due to status frustration and instead they turn to a group of other boys in the same situation in order to gain an alternative status
Cloward and Ohlin
argue that different neighbourhoods provide different illegitimate opportunities for young people to learn criminal skills and develop criminal careers and they identify three different subcultures
Criminal Subcultures (cloward and ohlin)
Arise in neigbourhoods with a strong history of crime and a longstanding hierachy of professional adult crime as this allows for young people to associate with criminals and gain TRAINING
Conflict Subcultures (cloward and ohlin)
Arise in areas of high population turnover which results in social disorganisation which PREVENTS a stable criminal network forming. So many loosely organised gangs use violence to release frustration and try to gain status by winning "turf"
Retreatist Subcultures (cloward and ohlin)
When people fail at becoming big time criminals. Therefore many do become double failures and turn to things like drug use
Nigel South
found that the drug trade is a MIXTURE of both conflict subculture and professional 'mafia' style criminal subcultures. He argues against subculturalists and believes instead that it's too simplistic to define crime to only one explanation
Criticism of Retreatist Theory
Critics argue that supposedly retreatist users are also professional dealers making a living so are also INNOVATORS, so its possible not to be confined to ONE subculture, crime is not that detirministic
Walter Miller
Argues that the lower class has its own independent subculture separate from mainstream culture with its own values. These subcultures dont VALUE SUCCESS in the first place so its members ARENT frustrated by failure
David Matza
This phenomenologist claims that most delinquents are not strongly committed to their subculture as strain theories suggest, but merely drift in and out of delinquency. He argues crime and deviance is often episodic
Messner and Rosenfield
They argue that its American obsession with individual money success, encourages an ANOMIC (Lack of values) cultural environment in which people are encouraged to adopt an 'anything goes' mentality in the pursuit of wealth
Downes and Hansen
Found that societies that spend more of welfare have lower rates of imprisonment, which backs up Messner and Rosenfield who both believed that protecting the poor results in less crime
Savelsberg
applies strain theory to post communist societies in Eastern Europe, which saw a RAPID RISE in crime after the fall of communism, he attributes this rise to communism's values being REPLACED by new western capitalist goals of 'money success'
Tarling
Analysed official statitics and found that the crime rate and unemployment rate rose steadily together from 1950-80 which is compatible with Mertons theory. However remember that because two things correlate DOESN'T mean that one proves the causes of the other
Toughness (focal concern)
Miller said that people within the lower-class subculture value toughness as an important trait; however this can manifest itself in assault and violence
Smartness (focal concern)
This culture also value the ability to outfox each other. This will often lead to people trying to con, pickpocket or steal from each other in ‘clever’ ways.
Excitement (focal concern)
One focal concern is where the culture constantly searches for excitement and thrills. This often means gambling, alcohol and sexual adventures.
Feminists on Subcultural Theory
They believe subculturalist neglect female delinquency and female gangs
Brantingham
urban areas have more crime generating areas such as warehouses, shopping centres, car parks, red light districts etc
Level 6