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Sociology A2: Crime and Deviance lesson 11

Subcultural Theory: The sociology of gangs

Amanda Lane

on 14 October 2013

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Transcript of Sociology A2: Crime and Deviance lesson 11

Subcultural Theory: The sociology of gangs
Lesson Objective: To understand why gangs exist in society, and what attracts people to them.
Key Terms:
Delinquent Behaviour: Criminal and antisocial behaviour committed by children and teenagers.
Subculture: A group within society whose norms and values differ from mainstream society. The members of such groups share common values and behaviour patterns with each other.
Status frustration: The anger that is displayed by people whose aspirations or social goals are blocked.
Albert Cohen argued that delinquent behaviour was most likely to occur in working-class boys who were failing at school. Cohen suggested that this was due to status frustration.
Status frustration was the result of boys recognising that they would not achieve social status through academic routes.
Instead, they look for status within peer groups: proving their worth by stealing, vandalism and fighting.
According to Cloward & Ohlin there are 3 types of gangs:
Criminal - Gangs that operate for financial gains.
Conflict - Gangs that operate around violent, aggressive and antisocial behaviour.
Retreatist - Gangs that place emphasis on drug or alcohol abuse.
Think of examples to highlight each type of gang.
Real life example: The Bloods and the Crips
Female gang members
Women have very little status within a gang. They are usually only affiliated for sex and to serve their male counterparts.
Middle class gang members
Gangs are seen as a replacement for families that have broken down.
Marxist subcultural theory
Capitalism drives young working class men to gangs. Because they leave school with little or no academic qualifications, there are little jobs for skilled or unskilled manual work. Gang membership is the answer in order to still achieve social status in the form of consumer goods.
In order for sociologists to study gang activity, official statistics were used.
What are the problems with using official statistics?
Not all people stay in a gang. Some people just drift in and out because they are looking for excitement and fun.
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