• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is the formation of gangs lined to strain theory

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

IS THE FORMATION OF GANGS LINKED TO THE STRAINS SET OUT BY COHEN, CLOWARD & OHLIN? MIGHT OTHER EXPLANATIONS EXPLAIN THIS PHENOMENON BETTER? DISCUSS This paper will consider the formation of delinquent gangs within our society from a criminological perspective. It will look at the definition of a gang, its motives, purposes and effects. It will then examine links to strain theory, first proposed by Merton, which was expanded upon in the work of the criminologists Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin. It will consider other criminological theories and explanations to see if they help us understand this phenomenon. It will conclude that the strain theory forms the basis for a school of thought, but that other theories may more suitably provide the impetus for a new phase of criminological studies to examine this problem from a specifically UK perspective. There is no generally agreed-upon definition for a gang as such. However, a suggested definition (Klein, 2005, p. 136) could be a "durable, street-oriented youth group whose own identity includes involvement in illegal activity." This suggests a group of individuals that share a common identity. A gang can signify an opposition to mainstream norms, such as abiding by the law, and can flourish in areas where there is a lack of social control to prevent its presence on the street. ...read more.

Middle

These youngsters would often take on board the label, indulge in delinquent behaviour as a group more readily, becoming actors in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. In a speech by David Cameron (2006), leader of the Conservative opposition, he argues that the "hoodies" are seen as a sign of aggression and to some represent all that is wrong with youth culture, but he suggests this to be a misunderstanding. He points to the fact that this reaction demonstrates that there is a pressing need to find a long term solution to the problems of youth crime and anti-social behaviour. Another criminological point of view is suggested by Miller (Jacobs, 2006, p. 86) arguing that gang behaviour does not result from some form of reaction against middle class culture, but more that it is just an exaggerated form of lower working class culture. Furthermore, Cohen's theory is questioned by Matza (Jacobs, 2006, p. 83) who suggests that it over-predicts delinquent behaviour, not taking into account that individuals will often drift in and out of this way of life. As gang members tend to be under 25 years of age, this implies that they move out of the lifestyle as they get older. It is worth emphasizing that all the theories outlined above have been based on US society, which is similar to the UK in many ways. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, if our society follows or mirrors US society, as it so often does, this urban irritation could develop into a major social problem as it has in the US. The present is the ideal time to research this behaviour with the criminological intensity of the last century, but from a more specifically UK perspective. The way forward must be to analyse this gang behaviour further before it is passed on to a new generation of youths and evolves in increasingly undesirable directions. Reference List Bennett, T. and Holloway, K. (2004). Gang Membership, Drugs and Crime in the UK. British Journal of Criminology, 44(3), 305-323. Cameron, D. (2006). Thugs: beyond redemption? Retrieved May 1, 2007, from The Centre for Social Justice website: http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/default.asp?pageRef=139 Jacobs, M. (Ed.). (2006). Introduction to Criminology (3rd ed.). Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth. Klein, M. W. (2005). The Value of Comparisons in Street Gang Research. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 21(2), 135-152. Moser, C. and Winton, A. (2002). Violence in the Central American Region: Towards an Integrated Framework for Violence Reduction. Retrieved May 1, 2007, from Overseas Development Institute website: http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/working_papers/wp171_b.pdf Police identify 169 London gangs (2007, February 21). Retrieved May 1, 2007, from BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6383933.stm Respect Action Plan (2006). Retrieved May 1, 2007, from Home Office website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/respect-action-plan Webster, C., Macdonald, R. and Simpson, M. (2006). Predicting Criminality? Risk factors, Neighbourhood Influence and Desistance. Youth Justice, 6(1). 7-22. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Criminology essays

  1. Criminological Theory: Explaining Crime. This essay will look at how the subcultural theories ...

    Overall, it seems that some elements of the subcultural theories can be used to explain why working class youths may partake in shoplifting and other theft offences. The theories however, do not offer any explanation as to why adults

  2. Domestic violence. The following essay will concentrate on patriarchal-terrorism (Gilchrist et al. 2004) meaning ...

    (2001) Predictors of relationship abuse among young men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16 (2), 99-115 Roberts, A.R. (1988). Substance Abuse among men who batter their mates, Journal of Substance Abuse treatment, 5, 83-87. Russell, D. (1990). Rape in Marriage. Bloomington: Indiana University Press Russel, R. and Hulson, B.

  1. Using the desistance literature and recent research findings, explore how resettlement of prisoners could ...

    with the re-introduction of end-to-end case work, whereby one officer is responsible for a particular case from start to finish so that support is provided during their prison sentence and in the transition phase between leaving custody and returning to the community.

  2. anomie and strain theory

    He therefore claim that certain level of crime is in fact both inevitable and beneficial to society, in that it helps reinforce shared norms and values(through punishment) and it will challenge and question existing social order. However he warned that crime should be kept at a minimal; too much crime

  1. In what way(s) can the theory of the Panopticon be applied to information technologies ...

    Foucault claimed that this new kind of visibility constituted people as individuals who came to conform their own behaviour. Thus "visibility is a trap". His work recognised the expansion of the visual, communication and information technologies like CCTV and computerized criminal records database (Bogard, 1996).

  2. Control theories are limited in their explanations of criminality as they are only able ...

    Reiss's identified the failure of reinforcement for non-delinquent roles and values were crucial to the explanation of delinquency. In simple terms poor personal control was an indicator of criminality. Walter Reckless (1956) developed a "containment" theory by focusing on a youth's self-conception as an "insulator" against delinquency.

  1. The origins of the criminological imagination lay with C. Wright Mills and his book ...

    It is a ?white noise? generated by the criminal justice system and the criminology of denatured causes. Positivism evaluates data to come to its conclusion and it has lost contact with reality and what is happening in society which has been used by on overbearing criminal justice system (Young 2011).

  2. Explore how both sociology and social psychology can help us to understand anti-social behaviour

    which are viewed by the rest of society as ?outsiders? and why they choose to commit crimes and behave in a deviant manner. However, deviant behaviour is a social construct because it can be perceived differently in different cultures and by different people, therefore should we really be able to define ?outsiders? as criminals or deviants.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work