Sociology: Outline and assess Structuralist theories of crim

Sociology: Outline and assess Structuralist theories of crim

Cohen believed that many ‘lower-class’ boys aspired to the values of ‘middle- class’ society but lacked the means to obtain anyways success, thus leading to status frustration. Therefore many reject the rules of acceptable norms and behavior as they cannot be successful within those rules. They turn to a delinquent subculture, where there are alternative norms and values and through committing crime status can be gained. Box, however, argues that Cone’s theory only applies to the minority.

Most he believes accept mainstream values although feeling resentful of being men as failures. Collard and Olin were also greatly influenced by Morton and accepted his explanation of deviance in terms of the legitimate opportunity structure. However they also explored a parallel, the illegitimate opportunity structure. They realized that within certain subcultures it was possible to make a career out of crime, which allowed criminals to obtain mainstream societies goals. According to Collard and Olin there were three possible categories.

Firstly a criminal subculture, where there is opportunity to become involved in a hiring world of crime, where there are successful role models who have used crime as a means to succeed, and youngsters who can ‘work their way up the ladder’ in the criminal hierarchy. Where there is no local criminal subculture, conflict subculture can emerge. This is when there is no access to the legitimate or illegitimate means of success and anger and frustration is vented through violence, usually to other groups of similar status.

Finally Collard and Olin thought there was the retreating subculture which as centered mainly on illegal drug use and alcohol. This occurred as members often failed to fit into the other two subcultures. Collard and Oiling theory has faced some criticism. Similarly to Cohen they failed to mention female delinquency. It is also difficult to believe that all criminals and deviants fit into three neat categories. Taylor, Walton and Young criticize both Cone’s and Collard and Loin’s assumption that everyone is aspiring to achieve wealth.

They point out that there are certain groups in society such as ‘Hippies’ that make conscious cessions to reject such conventions. In the 1 ass’s Miller developed a rather different approach. He suggested that deviancy linked to the lowercases males who had their own distinctive values which had been passed on from generation to generation. These values, he believed, actually encouraged criminal behavior. He identified various ‘focal concerns’ of the lower class male, such as, toughness- a respect for courage, smartness- the ability to outsmart others and excitement- the search for thrills.

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