Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Chapter 7: Cultural Deviance, Strain, and Social Control Theories

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7: Cultural Deviance, Strain, and Social Control Theories"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7: Cultural Deviance, Strain, and Social Control Theories

2 A. Introduction 1) A new explanation for crime began to focus on conditions that were in place before the act occurred, giving rise to the positive school of criminology a. While biological and psychological theories blame delinquency on factors inside of children, sociologists in the 20th century challenged this view by asserting that criminality was caused by factors outside of the child b. The 3 major schools of thought that will be covered: i. Cultural deviance- blames delinquency on rapid social change which weakens neighborhood controls on children (deviancy may be considered as such by the larger society but is compatible with the behavior in the neighborhood) ii. Strain theory- children are inherently good, but are victims of circumstance and commit delinquency when under extreme pressure (pressure to commit deviant acts arises from having internalized society’s goals and wanting to achieve them. Because some people are unable to become successful by conforming to society’s rules, they will turn to delinquency out of desperation) iii. Social control theory- children are inherently amoral and will engage in acts of delinquency unless prevented (Delinquency is expected behavior since children are amoral, and therefore this inclination toward delinquent behavior must be constrained)

3 B. Theories of Cultural Deviance
1) Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay (Concentric Zone Theory) a. Shaw and McKay came up with the notion that delinquency is the result of the neighborhood in which a child lives i. Their zonal hypothesis claims that rates of delinquency decline the farther one moves from the center of the city ii. To test this theory, they divided up Chicago into 5 concentric circles or zones iii. They found that delinquency rates tended to be the highest in the first two zones, while it declined significantly in each subsequent zone

4 b. The explanation for their findings was in terms of culture and
environment i. Run down areas create social disorganization- (newly arrived immigrants were not familiar with the cities geography or culture and immediately faced overwhelming problems) ii. Social disorganization fosters cultural conflicts- (In high delinquency areas, the norms of a variety of different cultures existed side by side which led to cultural conflicts) iii. Cultural conflict allows delinquency to flourish- (Cultural transmission—in which criminal values are passed from one generation to the next—had an impact on children who were exposed to both conventional and criminal value systems in areas of low socio-economic statuses and high delinquency rates) iv. Allowed to flourish, delinquency becomes a full-time career – (Though initial offenses may be trivial, acts of delinquents become increasingly severe and can culminate in the formation gangs or other group efforts)

5 2) Edwin Sutherland (Differential Association)
c. Critiques of Shaw and McKay’s Theory i. Neighborhoods with high rates of delinquency may not be disorganized, or may simply be organized differently than other neighborhoods ii. Shaw and McKay’s theory is limited in scope, in that it only examines a particular historical period in Chicago (early 20th century) iii. Since Shaw and McKay didn’t explain non-delinquency in their study, there is a possibility that neighborhoods do not pass on values and criminal traditions from one generation to the next iv. However, there is evidence of a strong correlation between “neighborhood disadvantage” (the percentage of people living below the poverty line, unemployment rates, proportion of single parent family households) and crime 2) Edwin Sutherland (Differential Association) a. Devised the theory of differential association—a learning theory that explains the process children go through to become delinquent—which consists of nine key principles

6 i. Delinquent behavior is learned
ii. Such behavior is acquired through peer interaction via communication iii. This communication takes place in intimate groups iv. In these groups, children learn criminal techniques as well as how to rationalize their crimes (i.e. I only stole the candy bar because the shop owner is a crook since he/she charges such outrageous prices!) v. The legal code is defined as being favorable or unfavorable and influences the direction of motives and drives vi. Delinquency is deemed to be acceptable since the child has internalized definitions of the law that are favorable to engaging in deviant behavior vii. Delinquency is affected by the frequency, duration, priority and intensity of these learning experiences viii. Learning this delinquent behavior is not unlike learning other forms of behavior ix. All behaviors are an expression of the same needs and values b. Children learn to define behavior by their associations and—ones that occur more often, take place early in life and with people who the child respects—will have a profound influence on the child’s behavior

7 3) Walter Miller (explains lower-class, male gang delinquency)
c. Critiques of Sutherland’s Theory i. It’s very difficult to test this theory since the number of favorable or unfavorable definitions that are learned by the child with respect to the law, can never be known ii. This theory may be too simple since Sutherland only vaguely describes how learning takes place iii. Some argue that it has the ‘chicken or the egg syndrome’ (which comes first, delinquent behavior or delinquent associates?) 3) Walter Miller (explains lower-class, male gang delinquency) a. Argued that lower-class boys learn values that contradict those of main stream society and develop sex role problems in response to: i. Living in female-based households ii. Internalizing values that set them apart from the upper classes of society

8 b. Miller explains that lower-class culture revolves around
the following six focal concerns or the values that monopolize lower-class consciousness i. Trouble (getting into or staying out of it) ii Toughness (machismo, characterized by a lack of sensitivity and a lack of respect for women) iii. Smartness (referring to ‘street smarts’) iv. Excitement (typically through risky behavior) v. Fate (belief that someone is naturally lucky or unlucky—‘destiny’) vi. Autonomy- (“no one will push me around!”) c. Children participate in delinquency to “live up” to the standards of their neighborhood, regardless of what others think

9 i. The music of many rap artists reflects lower-class focal concerns
i. The music of many rap artists reflects lower-class focal concerns. Did the allegiance to a gangster lifestyle cost rap singers Tupac Shakur (left) and the Notorious B.I.G. (right) their lives? d. Critiques of Miller’s Theory i. Research by John Braithwaite suggests that a majority of lower-class youth do not necessarily subscribe to the values held by delinquents ii. The correlation between fatherless juveniles (single mother households) and crime has been heavily scrutinized

10 1) Robert Merton C. Strain Theories
a. Delinquency is caused by conformity to conventional cultural values i. American society has cultural goals that are sought by all, but most children have limited institutionalized means of reaching those goals ii. Since many children are unable to achieve these cultural goals, they will be pressured to deviate from the norms of society in an effort to attain them (though children will cope with this pressure in different ways) b. Adaptation through conformity is the most common way for children to deal with this pressure, but some seek other ways i. Innovators turn to illegitimate ways to reach their goals ii. Ritualists accept institutionalized means but reject cultural goals

11 iii. Retreatists reject cultural & institutionalized means of
attaining their goals and become the ‘outcasts’ of society iv. Rebels want to change the existing system to reach their goals (groups such as the ELF or the Weather Underground) c. Critiques of Merton’s Theory i. Merton doesn’t say what the relationship is between strain and delinquency, nor does he identify which juveniles among those denied legitimate means will engage in delinquent behavior ii. He also exaggerates the homogeneity and solidarity of social classes iii. Also, Merton does not inform us of why some children tend to commit different crimes than others iv. Margaret Farnworth and Michael Leiber are supporters of Merton’s theory and state that ‘how the variable strain is operationalized’ determines what a study will yield

12 2) Albert Cohen (Status-Frustration Theory)
a. In his book “Delinquent Boys” Cohen argued that delinquents were malicious, negativistic, non-utilitarian, versatile, loyal and cannot defer gratification b. The middle class measuring rod, or the standard teachers use when they assign status to students, can have a profound impact on how Americans judge children c. Status frustration theory postulates that since children are judged by their ability to follow middle class values in school, lower status children become frustrated with their inability to fit in which drives them to form a delinquent subculture (one that rejects middle class values)

13 d. Albert Cohen blames delinquency on:
i. The frustration children experience because of their lower class status ii. Their inability to live up to middle-class standards e. Critiques of Cohen’s Theory i. There is a lack of evidence supporting the idea that lower-class delinquents reject middle-class values ii. In fact, Lee Rainwater argues that lower-class youth will attempt to live up to ‘middle-class’ values whenever possible 3) Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin a. Designed a theory to explain delinquency in terms of “what children want, and what they get” i. Cloward & Ohlin argue that children join delinquent gangs because their legitimate path to success is often blocked ii. For instance, lower-class children who desire money are the most likely to join a gang since they may believe that they have no other means of achieving financial success iii. Blaming society for this inability to achieve such a success helps the delinquent to rationalize their behavior to an extent

14 conflict and retreatist subcultures)
b. Cloward and Ohlin also identified 3 delinquent subcultures, (criminal, conflict and retreatist subcultures) i. The criminal subculture develops because there are successful adult criminals who serve as role models, an integration of age levels, and cooperation between offenders and legitimate people (lawyers, politicians, etc.) ii. The conflict subculture develops largely as a result of social and cultural conflict in a community. Since there is little help from legitimate people in this subculture, juveniles will often resort to violence to vent their anger iii. Children who cannot succeed in the criminal or conflict subcultures are often led to the retreatist subculture, (they are considered to be a ‘double failure’)

15 (General Strain Theory)
c. According to Cloward and Ohlin, delinquency is caused by the pressure to succeed and by the lack of legitimate opportunities d. Critique i. A capitalist economy requires a large number of people to fill the “boring, empty, dead-end and low-paying jobs” 4) Robert Agnew (General Strain Theory) a. Agnew argued that there are 3 sources of strain: i. Failure to achieve positively valued goals ii. Denial of previously attained achievements iii. Exposure to negative stimuli

16 b. The relationship between strain and delinquency is indirect,
not direct i. How children react to strain is determined by other “conditioning factors” such as their social-support system, self- esteem, etc. ii. For example, some children will blame others for strain, while some will accept responsibility for it c. Critiques of Agnew’s Theory i. Though his theory is relatively new, there has been a good deal of support for it ii. Research conducted by Lisa Broidy supports the theory and found that the relationship among strain, emotion and crime varies by the cause of the strain D) Social Control Theories 1) David Matza

17 a. Matza believes that the difference between delinquents and non-
delinquents is severely exaggerated i. Argues that delinquents are usually remorseful of their actions and that peer pressure is the cause of most delinquency (i.e. fear of being called a ‘chicken’) b. Since delinquents feel guilty for what they did, Matza feels that they tend to absolve themselves of that guilt by turning to one of five techniques of neutralization: i. Denial of responsibility ii. Denial of injury iii. Denial of victim iv. Condemnations of condemners v. Appeal to higher loyalty

18 2) Travis Hirschi (Social Bonding Theory)
c. It is important to note that these techniques of neutralization are often in place before an act of delinquency is even engaged in d. Critiques i. Some evidence supports the notion of the gradual decline of participation in crime after the teenage years, known as the aging-out phenomenon ii. However, researchers such as Michael Hindelang did not find support that delinquents typically “went along” with their friend’s conceptualizations of delinquency simply due to peer pressure 2) Travis Hirschi (Social Bonding Theory) a. Hirschi postulates that juvenile delinquency is inevitable unless society “throws obstacles” in the path of potential deviants b. The social bonding theory argues that the bond, or the glue that holds a society together, is the way to deter delinquent behavior. It has four key principles: i. Attachment ii. Commitment iii. Involvement iv. Belief

19 3) Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi (Self-Control & Delinquency)
c. Children with a strong bond to society are less likely to engage in acts of delinquency since they will feel as if they have something to lose d. Critiques i. Several studies have found that juveniles with a strong attachment to parents/guardians are less likely to be delinquent that those with a weak attachment ii. Also, children who are involved in activities (commitment) are said to be less likely to engage in acts of delinquency according to Eric Linden and James Hackler iii. Marvin Krohn and James Massey have found that commitment is a better predictor of delinquency than either attachment or belief iv. Robert Agnew criticized this theory when he discovered through research that social bonding variables only explain 1 or 2 percent of future delinquency 3) Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi (Self-Control & Delinquency) a. Children commit crimes when an opportunity presents itself i. According to this theory, delinquents cannot resist the urge to commit delinquency because of the immediate gratification that accompanies it (low self-control) ii. Children with low self-control are risk-takers, insensitive and impulsive iii. Parent’s who punish their children and supervise them closely, (when they engage in deviant behavior), will help these children to succeed later in life

20 1) Cultural Deviance, Strain and Social Control Theory
b. Critiques (4 major criticisms) i. Minimizes the importance of the role that biological factors play in delinquency ii. Lumps all children together and ignores the fact that differences among children can alter the way in which they are parented iii. Doesn’t account for female delinquency iv. Ignores power differentials E. Policy Applications 1) Cultural Deviance, Strain and Social Control Theory a. The CAP program—the Chicago Area Project— is the most comprehensive policy application of the Shaw, McKay and Miller theories (CAP began in 1932) i. CAP advocates community involvement and direct services which can help to keep children out of trouble b. Sutherland’s theory of differential association has encouraged the establishment of programs that de-isolate or re-integrate offenders into community life and share the common goal of changing a child’s social environment c. Project Head Start (initiated in 1965) is one example of the implementation of strain theory

21 i. The idea behind this program is to ready under-privileged children for school
so that they don’t fail later on in life due to insufficient preparedness ii. In recent years, this program has been heavily scrutinized in light of studies that show that the initial improvements in children often disappear later in life d. Social Control theory has been applied to community organizations such as the Police Athletic League (PAL) which provides children with positive experiences with other youths and law enforcement officers i. Do these organizations serve to deter delinquent behavior? -end of chapter 7 notes

Download ppt "Chapter 7: Cultural Deviance, Strain, and Social Control Theories"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google