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Assess the usefulness of 'Sub-Cultural Theories' in explaining sub-culture.

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Introduction

´╗┐Assess the usefulness of subcultural theories in explaining subculture (in relation to C+D). (21) A subculture is where numerous individuals choose to separate themselves from the mainstream culture and are part of a separate group that follow their own, unique set of norms and values that may be deviant in society, hence their separation. For example, School is an accepted main stream culture people follow, a sub-culture may be a group of people that decide to bunk. Albert Cohen is a theorist that believed subcultural crime and deviance stems from the fact that lower classes (proletariats) are unable to achieve mainstream success in order to obtain material goods that they tend to want, in a legitimate way therefore resort to crime. Which is a way of hopefully achieving what they want without going through the near impossible hierarchy of society and completion of institutions. ...read more.

Middle

such as vandalism, graffiting, rape. Miller?s theory saw the deviant lower class sub-cultural values as focal concerns. For example, Toughness, fighting and aggression; Excitement; Trouble, deviant behaviour and disturbing of peace. This theory is supported by research carried out by Parker on Liverpool gangs. It is these focal concerns that lead deviant and criminal behaviour of individuals in this sub-culture. Miller fails to look at the fact that not all lower class adopt this approach and that increasingly Middle Class Gangs are forming, due to family problems, they are in need of support and find Escapism and this support they need within gang cultures, despite their affluence. Cloward and Ohlin also explain lower class crime in terms of goals and means however they believe those who are deviant share their own deviant subcultural values different to those of the middle class. ...read more.

Conclusion

This theory can be criticized as not everyone who lives in areas of crime end up being sucked into an illegitimate career structure. To conclude the sub-cultural theories of crime and deviance all link back to capitalism, and are build upon Merton?s theory of the American Dream and materialism that becomes so idealized, society will do whatever they have to do in order to obtain it, legitimate or not. Hence the creation and joining of sub-cultures. lower and some of middle classes are unable to obtain what is wanted and idealized by following a legitimate route, and the ruling are at the top and are the decision makers in society, just directing lower and middle classes towards mainstream failure, and the dream grows further away from them, hence the creation of the sub-cultures as a response and attempt to achieve the unachievable. ...read more.

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