Level 2 Level 4
Level 3

Strain and subcultural theories (Chicago school)

19 words 0 ignored

Ready to learn       Ready to review

Ignore words

Check the boxes below to ignore/unignore words, then click save at the bottom. Ignored words will never appear in any learning session.

All None

Derives from Lyng. Refers to activities of young males which provide them with thrills derived from the real possibility of physical or emotional harm (e.g. stealing and racing cars)
Status frustration
According to Cohen, this occurs when young men feel that they are looked down upon society.
Term used by Merton and other functionalists to describe a lack of balance and adjustment in society. His theory focuses on utalitarian crime for material gain. Stem from the desire to be included in the group of the wealthy. (AO2) The strain theory suggests a variety of responses to situations of frustration, not just criminal activity; it can be applied at the macro (societal) level as well as micro level; it does not spell out why any one individual becomes a retreatist rather than a rebel.
Subcultural theories
Explanations of crime and deviance focusing on the idea that those who deviate hold different values to the majority. (AO2) It established the importance of group norms and values as generators of pro- and anti-crime attitudes; it focuses exclusively on delinquent boys and ignores phenomena such as female gangs.
Subterranean (hidden) values
A set of deviant values that exist alongside the socially approved values, but are usually kept hidden or under control. They may emerge in certain social situations, such as at parties or after drinking alcohol.
Techniques of neutralization Matza
Justifications for our deviant actions. Denial of responsibility, victim or injury; condemnation of condemners; appeal to higher loyalties (standing up for family/race)
The American Dream
For Merton, deviance is the result of a strain between the goals a culture ENCOURAGES individuals to aim for and what the structure of society actually ALLOWS them to achieve legally. He sees American society as tending towards anomie (normlessness)
Deviant adaptations to strain
conformity (m/c), innovation (w/c), ritualism (lower m/c), retreatism (addicts/vagrants), rebellion (political radicals)
Merton AO2
1. He shows how both normal and deviant behaviour can arise from the same mainstream goals. Conformists and innovators both pursue the same goal, but by different means. 2. He takes official crime statistics at face value. He's theory is too deterministic: not all w/c people deviate. It ignores the power of the ruling class to make and enforce laws.
Illegitimate opportunity structure
(COHEN) An alternative, illegal way of life that certain groups in society have access to.
Cohen AO2
Unlike Merton, he offers an explanation of non-utilitarian deviance. But he assumes w/c boys start off sharing m/c success goals, only to reject them when they fail. He ignores the possibility that they never shared these goals and so weren't reacting to a failure.
Cloward and Ohlin
Three subcultures: criminal, conflict (violence provides a release for frustration), retreatist. Stem from the desire to be included in certain groups.
Merton and C&O similarities
Innovation=criminal retreatism=retreatist subculture
Focal concerns
Term used by Miller to describe key values that are likely to lead the w/c to deliquency. Smartness, trouble, excitement, toughness, autonomy, fate.
Miller AO2
He provides little evidence to show that these are specifically lower-class values. Box (1981) pointed out, they could equally apply to males right across the class structure.
Parker 'View from the boys' (1992)
He studied a group of young males in Liverpool who stole car radios to fund their lifestyle (cannabis, heavy drinking, fighting).
David Downes (1966)
Study of w/c boys from London. He could not find any distinctive values in their characters. They were rather dissociated from mainstream values. In the UK, evidence of distinctive subcultures has been fairly difficult to obtain.
Appreciative sociology
Chicago sociologists who were determined to appreciate the wide variety of different cultures and lifestyles in Chicago that existed as a result of the huge influx of migrants arriving from all over Europe. It used quantitative and qualitative measures. The Chicago School was interested in the 'passing on' of pro- and anti-crime attitudes through socialisation in the family - 'the primary level' of socialisation.
Chicago School AO2
1. It assumes a degree of homogeneity in inner-city communities that is not always easy to show. 2. It takes the official stats of offending as 'true' picture of crime, when much crime in other areas of the city goes undetected. 3. All their theories ignore white-collar and other crimes of the powerful. 4. It influenced the growth of 'environmental criminology', which advocates 'target hardening'.