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Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Usefulness of Subcultural Theories in Explaining `Subcultural Crime and Deviance' in Society Today. (21 Marks)

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mindaugas
Words 758
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To define subculture, it’s where a number of individuals choose to be a part of a separate group that follow distinct norms and values different to those in mainstream society as stated in item A. Subcultures may contain norms and values that would be considered deviant in society and involve criminal activity.
In Stanley Cohen’s view the subcultural crime and deviance today results from the inability of lower classes to achieve mainstream success by legitimate means. Once the person fails to achieve success they may try to do so in other ways. Status frustration is a key element to Cohen's theory which states that when individuals are faced with failure they choose a delinquent subculture, as they no longer feel part of society or that they can achieve this leads to for example school dropouts. More often than not status frustration is resolved through creating or joining a subculture because it offers and alternative status hierarchy. It is this illegitimate opportunity structure where status can be won via delinquency. However Cohen’s theory has been criticized as it assumes that the working classes start off sharing the same goals as the middle class only to reject them when the lower class fails to achieve them.
Cloward and Ohlin also explain working class crime in terms of goals and means however they believe delinquents share their own deviant subcultural values different to those of the middle class. In their view there are 3 delinquent subcultures that emerge as a response to blocked opportunities in order to try and continue to achieve success thought other means.
The criminal subculture: where there is already the presence of adult crime in an area and they act as role models in order for individuals to learn and then climb the criminal hierarchy.
The conflict subculture: is where an illegitimate opportunity structure is absent and with little…...

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