Examine And Assess Strain And Subcultural Theories Of Crime

1356 words - 5 pages

Subcultural Theory is a term used to describe how society is divided into two groups; those whose members can conform to moral and law abiding rule, generally thought of as being white middle class, and those whose members commit crime, usually young working-class males. It attempts to explain why some people resort to crime in order to achieve desires and how they have 'amended' rules in order to justify their criminal behaviour.One of the most influential sociologists from the functionalist perspective was Robert Merton (1938). He studied young males in America and argued that everybody shares the same goals, when some cannot attain these goals, anomie occurs, which is a sense of alienation and disorientation from society. American teens are taught to believe in the 'American dream', and therefore believe that anything they desire is attainable, mainly material goods. Merton claimed that goals were linked to a person's position in the social structure; those in lower classes had restricted goals. He claimed that the system works well when there is a reasonable chance for people to achieve these goals, however if they are unable to achieve their socially set goals they become disenchanted with society and seek an alternative way of behaving, often deviant. This was described as strain to anomie. It was suggested that individuals turned to crime, drug addiction and violence when they were unable to attain the legal socially approved goals that society provided. He developed four deviant adaptations which enabled them to do this; Innovation, Ritualism, Retreatism and Rebellion. The first deviant adaptation, Innovation, argues that those at the bottom of the class system have fewer opportunities to achieve their goal. They are less likely to attain qualifications. This leads to their routes to success being blocked, which puts pressure on them to reach these goals via alternative methods, most commonly crime.Carl Nightingale (1993) and Philippe Bourgeois (2002) agree with Merton's theory of the 'American dream'. Bourgeois believes that the Americans are aggressively pursuing their careers as private entrepreneurs, they take risks, work hard and rely on good luck to succeed. Nightingale claims that they are unable to succeed due to being economically, racially and politically excluded, their response to this is to overcompensate by identifying themselves with the wider consumer culture, their focus is on obtaining these material goods and the method of how they are obtained is unimportant.However Valier (2001) criticises Merton by arguing that there are a variety of goals that people strive to attain at any one time, he feels that Merton's study is fairly outdated and can no longer be applied to present day society. Valier also claims that Merton fails to account for 'white collar crime', which is usually committed by those who have achieved material success, nor does he account for violent crime or group crime such as juvenile delinquency.Albert...

Find Another Essay On Examine and Assess Strain and Subcultural theories of Crime

Crime Theories: Strain Theory, Social Bond Theory, and Differential-Association Theory

1124 words - 4 pages to create social policy and attempt to limit crime. Three popular theories in criminology are strain theory, social bond theory and differential-association theory. The idea of a cultural goal is behind the strain theory. Our societies’ cultural goal is to amass wealth and gain success. We are led to believe that this goal is achievable by all individuals, but not all individuals are given the same opportunities and tools to reach the

Subcultural theories of crime are no more relevant nowadays than they were 40 years ago. Discuss

2563 words - 10 pages subcultural theories of crime from inception in the 1950/60's and assess it's development and relevance to date.Defining and contextualising subcultural theories of crimeThe concept of subculture was applied to the study of delinquency in the mid 1950's and was first used by anthropologists. It referred to a distinctive sets of values that set the delinquent apart from mainstream or dominant culture. It attempted to bring coherency to the argument that

Strain Theories of Criminal Behaviour

1997 words - 8 pages Strain theories of criminal behaviour have been amongst the most important and influential in the field of criminology. Taking a societal approach, strain theories have sought to explain deficiencies in social structure that lead individuals to commit crime (Williams and McShane 2010). Strain theories operate under the premise that there is a societal consensus of values, beliefs, and goals with legitimate methods for achieving success. When

Using accounts that you are familiar with examine and assess sociological explanations of the underclass

1070 words - 4 pages culprits of this are black single parent families who are not committed to mainstream values and consequently fail to value education, instead their values were based around voluntary unemployment, claiming benefits and crime. He based his views on observations he had made in the USA, and predicted that a similar trend was beginning in Britain. His findings focused ton the off-spring of single mothers, and found that they were responsible for high crime

Theories of Causation of Crime and Its Solution

1232 words - 5 pages If we studied through the history of criminal theory, spiritual and natural theories are taken as major theories of causation of crime. During medieval period, spiritual explanations were taken as punishment given by god for doing wrong things and any natural disasters like flood, fires, etc were evaluated as curse of high power. In modern period, the basic theories of causation of crime are

Outline and assess the importance of victim surveys for sociological understanding of crime and deviance

604 words - 2 pages most other crimes have a report rate of less than 50%, of all crimes vandalism is the most under-reported. The crime being 'too trivial' is the most commonly given reason for not reporting crime. It also discovered that most crimes are property crimes.However there are some problems with the BCS. The most obvious one being that as a victim survey it misses out crimes that have no victims, such as fraud and corporate crime. When it is considered

Sociology: Outline and assess left and right realist explanations of crime deviance

711 words - 3 pages copewith the statusfrustration and marginalization.Hughes notes that left realists should be valued for the challenge they posed to radical criminology's thinking on the issues of intra-class and intra-ethnic crimes.Left realism has drawn attention to the brutalising effects of street crimes in the inner-city and the fact that some theories of crime have romanticised offenders, it has highlighted the effects of crime for victims, a group neglected by

Examine the relationship between drug abuse and crime

1747 words - 7 pages IntroductionFor the past decade the prison population has slowly increased while at the same time crime rates have fallen. This is no longer the case. The current rise in crimes is due mainly to increased numbers of burglary, street robberies and drug offences. Soaring crime rates has been a major problem in Britain as crime has been rising steadily for many years and the fear of a crime is high among many Britains. There are many factors, which

Youth Crime Reoffending, Theories and Solutions

1570 words - 7 pages In England, conforming to the Civitas’s Crime report Youth Crime in England and Wales (2010) the youngest age that someone can be prosecuted is as young as ten years old. It is also mentioned that trailing, patrolling and applying penalties on young offenders costs almost four billion pounds annually. The numbers of first time offences committed by a young person has decrease over the years; according to the Youth Justice Statistics (2014) youth


900 words - 4 pages ASSESS FUNCTIONALIST AND MARXIST THEORIES ON THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN SOCIETY. Functionalist sociologists define religion in terms of the social and psychological effects it has on individuals in society. Emile Durkheim defines religion in terms of the contribution it makes to social integration, rather than a belief in any God or the supernatural. Milton Younger identifies the functions that religion performs for individuals, such as answering

Theories of Crime

2151 words - 9 pages Many theories of crime are macro theories, which are used to explain crime based on a large group of people or society. While macro theories are the predominant type of theory used to explain crime, there are also a variety of “individual”, or micro, factors which are equally important. Two such individual factors s are maternal cigarette smoking (MCS) and cognitive ability, or Intelligence Quotient (IQ). MCS has been shown to negatively

Similar Essays

Anomie And General Strain Theories Of Crime

1506 words - 6 pages with their own goals and mean. Instead, they will drop out of society and into things such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and homelessness. This adaptation is the least common in society. Merton’s anomie/strain theory was a very popular explanation for crime and deviance during the 1950’s and 1960’s. (Paternoster, Bachman 2001) Its popularity began to diminish in the late 1960’s due to the theories lack of empirical evidence. The theory did

Assess The Usefulness Of Subcultural Theories

719 words - 3 pages (Creativity, 1996, p.79):Preparation - becoming immersed in problematic issues that are interesting and arouses curiosity.Incubation - ideas churn around below the threshold of consciousness.Insight - the "Aha!" moment when the puzzle starts to fall together.Evaluation - deciding if the insight is valuable and worth pursuing.Elaboration - translating the insight into its final work.How have you tried to facilitate and encourage your own creativity

Assess Marxist Theories Of Crime And Deviance

626 words - 3 pages , as they make healthy workers to earn them profit. Neo-marxism or critical criminology is a newer philosophy, having arisen from marxist theories and social action theories. A Fully Social Theory of Deviance was a book written by criminologists Taylor, Walton and Young that combines traditional marxism with Neo-marxism. Karl Marx claims that crime is inevitable in capitalists society, as capitalism is a criminogenic system. In a capitalist

Sociology:Outline And Assess Structuralist Theories Of Crime And Deviance

589 words - 2 pages All Structuralist theories of crime and deviance seem to suggest that crime is socially constructed rather than focused on the individual.Albert Cohen, combining Structuralist and sub cultural theories drew on Merton's idea of strain but criticized Merton's ideas of crime being an individual response and believed that he ignored non-utilitarian crimes such as vandalism and joy-riding. Cohen was particularly interested in deviance which was not