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"Lower status groups have higher crime rates because they are denied access to the legitimate means of achieving success enjoyed by more privileged groups". Assess this view.

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Introduction

"Lower status groups have higher crime rates because they are denied access to the legitimate means of achieving success enjoyed by more privileged groups". Assess this view. According to some sociologists, lower status groups have higher crime rates because they do not have access to legitimate means of achieving. This view is supported by sociologists such as Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin who believe members of the lower classes commit crime because they are not given the same opportunities to achieve as other members of society. However, this view could be disputed, as it is by sociologists such as Miller and Murray who believe other factors are involved such as the focal concerns. This essay will assess the extent to which lower status groups commit crime because they are denied access to the legitimate means of achieving success. According to Cohen, lower class boys have the same success goals as the rest of society but have no opportunity to enjoy these goals. He believes that the lack of opportunity here is because of their educational failure and then their dead-end jobs. This could be supported by Willis' ethnographic study on a number of 'lads' at school. ...read more.

Middle

According to Cloward and Ohlin areas with a high rate of organised adult crime creates a learning environment for younger generations, meaning the common norms and values in these areas are different from those who apply themselves to the legitimate opportunity structure and a criminal subculture is created. Conflict subcultures are created in areas where there is little opportunity for adolescence to achieve through the illegitimate opportunity structures. This means that there is no access to either legitimate or illegitimate opportunity structure. According to Cloward and Ohlin the response to this situation is usually gang violence as a means of reaching built up tension and frustration towards the lack of opportunity. Retreatist subcultures are also created by those who have failed to have access to illegitimate or legitimate opportunity structures, thus they retreat from society and enter a retreatist subculture. Thus, all of these subcultures are created because these people do not have access to the normal means of achieving success. Other sociologists however, believe that it is not the opportunity for success but other factors that influence lower class crime rates. Miller, who studied lower class subcultures in 1950s America, discovered that the subcultures were not formed because of the inability to achieve success, but because of the existence of distinctive lower class subcultures. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stephen Jones also agrees that there us an underclass, but believes there are also number of side issues such as racial tension and gang warfare that helps to add to the crimes. This view could be supported by crimes in Britain such as the shootings of Letisha Shakespeare and Charlene Ellis in 2003. Overall, it can be said that there are a number of reasons as to why crime rates are high in the lower class. It could be because they are denied access to legitimate means of achieving success as they need to fine some way to succeed. However, it could also be due to the fact that learning environments are created and traditions are passed though the generations making it common and normal in the lower classes for crimes to be committed and normal for aspects such as racial tension to be a big part of life. Therefore, there it could be said that it is not just because of there is a lack of opportunity for members of the lower class, but because they already have there own norms and values of which t follow. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aislinn ...read more.

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