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hill livingston

on 21 October 2012

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Transcript of Subculture

A Presentation by Tyler and Hillary Main Thesis No subculture can be totally different from or totally in conflict with the society of which it is a part. To establish the existence of a subculture of violence does not require that the actors sharing in these basic value elements should express violence in all situations. The potential willingness to resort to violence in a variety of situations emphasizes the penetrating and diffusive character of this culture theme. The subcultural ethos of violence may be shared by all ages in a subsociety, but this ethos is most prominent in a limited age group, ranging from late adolescence to middle age. The counter-norm is nonviolence. The development of favorable attitudes toward, and the use of violence in a subculture usually involves learned behavior and a process of differential learning, association, or identification. The use of violence in a subculture is not necessarily viewed as illicit conduct and the users therefore do not have to deal with feelings of guilt about their aggression. What do you think leads to a subculture of violence? What are some examples of subcultures of violence? Decent & Street Families Campaigning for Respect Self-Image Based on "Juice" By Trial of Manhood "Going for Bad" An Oppositional Culture Decent & Street Families Decent Parents accept mainstream values such as, hard work, self-reliance and sacrifice. They are strict in their child-rearing practices, stressing respect for those in authority and adherence to high moral standards. These parents try to maintain a positive attitude as well as one of cooperation. Street Parents tend to show a lack of consideration for others and have a difficult time balancing their needs with those of their children. They may aggressively socialize their children physically out of frustration and may be present only sporadically. These actions teach their children early on the use of violence and to fend for themselves. Campaigning for Respect * Replicating parental aggression with peers
* Solidifying the importance of violence * Violence as last resort
* Ability to take care of and defend oneself * Mode of survival What are some examples of parental messaging that reinforces aggressive behavior? Self-Image Based on "Juice" * A tough facade to avoid conflict
* Verbal and symbolic presentation
* Ensuring due respect (zero-sum game)
* Vulnerable self-image and self-esteem By Trial of Manhood Close ties of physical and psychological well-being

Testing of manhood with every interaction

The display of "nerve"

Manhood an intrinsic part of identity Fearlessness, Reputation & Nonviolence? "Going for Bad" Fearlessness makes it difficult for law enforcement to have an impact.
Many may feel they have nothing to lose by going to prison, and perhaps will bolster their reputation by a stint in prison, so prison loses it's deterrent effect.
There is respect for knowing when to walk away and not using violence in every situation, though a tough facade must be presented at all times to in order to maintain their place in the street hierarchy.
If one is tested however, presentation is not enough and showing one has the means to back up their presentation is crucial to keeping their honor and local status. An Oppositional Culture Those who feel most rejected by mainstream society may in turn reject larger societal values and imbed themselves further in the culture of the streets.

The respect they gain in the streets then becomes more satisfying than anything mainstream society could offer.

Negotiating between "decent" and "street" behavior is an ongoing process. A cycle of prejudice and violence is sustained Critical Examination of Subcultural Theory * Are unconventional cultures necessarily pathological?
* Does culture create behavior or behavior determine culture?
* What are some popular Chicago Subcultures?
* Do you think it is possible to escape a subculture?
* What are some examples of former subcultures that are now mainstream? Ambiguous Empirical Support Sampson & Wilson (1995)
AA no more likely than whites to embrace violent values when taking social structure into account.
Sampson Morenoff & Raudenbush (2005)
Moral and legal cynicism within neighborhoods predicts youth violence after controlling for social structural conditions.
Kornhauser (1978)
Subcultures are actually collective representations of weakened commitment to conventional culture.
Sampson & Bean (2006)
Stress importance of reciprocal effects of action and values in cultural conceptualization.
Qualitative research
Supports retributive action taken to avenge oneself. Striving for respect and status in one's local context. Informal dispute resolution. Strengths Level of Analysis:

View of Human Nature:

View of Social Order: Macro Nurture Pluralistic Albert Cohen When speaking of a delinquent subculture, “we speak of a way of life that has somehow become traditional among certain groups within American society.” The groups consist of boys’ gangs that flourish within “delinquent neighborhoods” in larger cities. The boys will grow up, some becoming law-abiding citizens while others graduate to more professional criminality, but the delinquent tradition is kept alive by the age by the age-groups that succeed them. Where Do We Begin? All human action is an ongoing series of efforts to solve problems.
All people hover between doing and not doing, doing this or doing that, doing it in this way or doing it in that way.
Not every action provides a successful solution, there can be new problems that are generated.
What people do upon the problems they encounter.

*IF WE WANT TO EXPLAIN WHAT PEOPLE DO, THEN ONE MUST BE CLEAR ABOUT THE NATURE OF HUMAN PROBLEMS AND WHAT PRODUCES THEM. Main Concepts of Cohen Cohen accepts Merton's position on the structural origins of crime and deviance.
Working class youths internalize mainstream norms and values through socialization.
Working class youths face blocked opportunities (e.g. at school) because of their position in the social class structure.

BUT…Cohen extends upon the previous theory
Working class youths as a whole (groups not just individuals) suffer from status frustration (realize that they can not achieve in middle class terms).
Some working class youths make a decision to completely reject mainstream norms and values due to the status frustration they feel.
Mainstream norms and values are replaced with alternative delinquent subcultural norms and values.  (For Cohen a high value is placed on non-financial negativistic delinquent acts.  For example, joy riding, arson and vandalism.)
The delinquent subculture provides an alternative means of gaining status and striking back at an unequal social system that has branded them as ‘failures’ Origin of Problems The Situation Situation

Frame of Reference The world we live in and where we are located.
Physical Setting.
BUT…above all, the habits, expectations, demands and social organization of the people around us.

“Always our problems are what they are because the situation limits the things that we can do and have and the conditions under which they are possible.” (C & T, 171) Frame of Reference It is said that an effective solution must entail some change in the frame of reference itself.

Values must change. But Wait! There's More! It is important to remember that human problems are not distributed in a random way among the roles that make up the social system.
Each category of individual has been equipped by their society with frames of reference and confronted with situations that are not equally characteristic of other roles. Arise...Subcultural Solutions Confronting a dilemma and a paradox:

How is it possible for cultural innovations to emerge while each of the participants in the culture are so powerfully motivated to conform to what is already established? Subcultural Solutions - Status Problems Status problems are problems of achieving respect in the eyes of one’s fellows.

The ability to achieve status depends on the criteria of status applied by one’s fellows, that is, the standards or norms they go by evaluating people.

So, what can one do?

Individuals who share such problems gravitate towards each other and jointly establish new norms (new criteria and kinds of conduct that are acceptable)
Must be shared by others because, if not, the individual only goes about further estranging himself/herself.
Examples = Cults, Sects, Movements Status Source! Subcultural Explanation for Delinquency Walter Miller One’s status is the way an individual stands in the eyes of others.

Status is not a fixed property, but varies by the points of view of each person.
That would be great right…BUT one of many beliefs.

Postulates that the dominant component of motivation for these acts is to adhere to certain behaviors and achieve standards defined within the community. But what does that mean for delinquency?

The cultural system which exerts the most influence over these individuals is that of a lower class - a long-established distinctively patterned tradition with an integrity of its own. Concerns of the Lower Class Lower class youths are socialized into a set of lower class values or focal concerns, which generally include: toughness, smartness, excitement and fatalism. 1. Trouble
2. Toughness
3. Smartness
4. Excitement
5. Fate
6. Autonomy Trouble Bad is Good? Toughness! Smartness Various shades of meaning:

Situation or kind of behavior which results in unwelcomed or complicated involvement with official authorities or agencies of the middle class.
Expressed desire to avoid behavior which violates moral or legal norms is often based less around explicit commitment to “official” moral or legal standards than on a desire to avoid “getting in trouble”

“Law-Abiding” vs. “Non-Law-Abiding”

Although not the case in the middle class (which is driven by achievement external symbols), the lower class will often engage in this dilemma.

“Trouble Producing” vs. “Non-Trouble Producing” With certain groups, in certain situations, “getting into trouble” is overtly recognized as prestige-conferring.
Membership in many gangs, for example, is contingent on having demonstrated an explicit commitment to the law-violating alternative.

However, “getting into trouble” is not in itself overtly defined as prestige conferring, but is implicitly recognized as a means to other valued ends. (Multi-faceted and achieves several sets of valued ends)
And, important to realize that a choice between law-abiding and non-law-abiding is still present within the lower classes. Combination of qualities or states:
Physical Prowess
Absence of Sentimentality
Bravery, especially in the face of Physical Threats.

Genesis – Probably related to the fact that a significant portion of lower class males are raised in a predominately female household and lack a consistently present male figure, who can provide a knowledge regarding the basis of a “male” role. In lower class cultures, this concept refers to an individuals ability to outfox or outwit others, as well as a decent capacity to avoid those being outwitted oneself.

Obtaining valued entities through use of mental agility

Characterization of “non-intellectual” simply because society values more formal cultural knowledge. This is in opposition to the mental attributes which become highly valued in less privileged areas.

Often, disagreement stems from the lower class having a more aggressive repartee. Excitement!
(I'll have what she's having) Fate...That Old Thing Many of the most characteristic features of the lower class life are related to the search for excitement or thrill.
Examples include both a greater drive by both sexes to consume alcohol and gambling of all kinds. “Night on the Town” or “Going out on the Town”

However, excitement doesn’t need to include excessive action:
“Hanging Out” is a term that can be used to describe individuals within the lower class that do nothing, simply “shooting the breeze.” Many lower class individuals feel like they have little control over several forces within their lives.

Once things start going your way, relatively independent of your own effort, all good things will come.
Example, excessive gambling allows individuals to seek out riches, without much work or effort. Autonomy Overtly Valued vs. Covertly Sought

Lower class culture helps in the creation expressed resentment of the ideas of external controls, restrictions on behavior or unjust authority. Adolescent Street Corner Group Motivation of Delinquent Behavior in the Lower Class
Belonging –

Demonstrates knowledge of and determination to adhere to the system of standards and valued qualities defined by the group.

Maintain membership by acting in conformity with values.

Violation of norms can result in the harshest of penalties: exclusion. The customary set of activities of the adolescent street corner group includes activities which are in violation of laws and ordinances of the legal code.
The groups are aware of the illegality of these actions

BUT…it is important to remember that they are not psychopaths nor are they physically/mentally defective.

They take part in these actions to achieve their goals through the culturally available avenues which appear most feasible to attaining the ends. Crips Mara
Salvatrucha Weaknesses Subculture of Violence Subcultural Theory Main Thesis The basis of the theory is that groups within society develop values and norms different from those held by mainstream members of society. Deviance arises because individuals conform to the values and norms of particular groups which have specific behaviors of their own. * Deterministic
* Assumes lower class strive for middle class values
* Infers values from behavior - tautology
* No explicit link between social structure and subculture
* Ignores non urban populations * Reciprocal effect between action and the value complex
* Acknowledges complexity and multiplicity of subcultures
* Looks at family impacts Status –

Achieved and maintained by demonstrating possession of valued qualities within the culture.

Defined in different ways –

Intra-Group = Ranking systems (demonstrating superiority, through display of valued attributes)

Outside of Group = “Adultness,” not engaging in “kid” activities.

External symbols of adult status.

Freedom – to drink, smoke, and gamble (to name a few)

Rep – how tough the group is perceived by outside groups. “Pecking Orders” don’t just exist within groups themselves, but among many different groups. Adolescent Street Corner Group Motivation of Delinquent Behavior in the Lower Class The operation of such process can be explained in three basic sentences:

Following cultural practices which compromise essential elements of the total life pattern of lower class culture automatically violates certain legal norms.

In instances where alternate avenues to similar objectives are available, the non-law-abiding avenue frequently provides a relatively greater and more immediate return for a relatively smaller investment of energy.

The “demanded” response to certain situations recurrently engendered within lower class culture involves the commission of illegal acts. http://www.history.com/shows/gangland/videos/gangs-of-the-south Wolfgang & Ferracuti's Level of Analysis Macro: Based on a shared cultural theme of violence for those living under similar conditions. Nature v Nurture Nurture: Subcultures as learning environments. Social Order Pluralistic: Large, complex societies develop subcultures, some of which have norms of violence. Conceptual Components Strengths Weaknesses * Promotes racial stereotypes
* Doesn't explain the origin of this subculture
* Based on a specific population (poor, men of color) and applied broadly * Theoretical approach builds from pre-existing theories.
*Continues to move focus from individual pathology to social phenomena. Main Thesis Conceptual Components Level of Analysis Nature v Nurture Social Order Macro: Culturally defined norms, specific to the urban poor, govern public interaction. Nurture: Families initiate their children in the methods of survival. Pluralistic: Both "street" and "decent" values are pursued lifestyles within a subculture. The Code of the Streets - Anderson Are You "Decent" or "Street"? Informal rules, often counter to mainstream society, govern interpersonal public behavior.

Two orientations, decent and street, organize the community and navigating between the two is essential for survival.

At the heart of the code is the issue of respect.

The point where police influence ends and personal responsibility for safety begins. Conceptual Components * A prevalent theme of violence exists in a subculture's values, which makes up the lifestyle, socialization process, and interpersonal relationships of those living in similar conditions.

* Overt expressions of violence are in fact part of a subcultural normative system reflected in the psychological traits of its participants.
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