Theories of Juvenile Delinquency: Social Structure
Question: Do we assume that these three forms correlate highly statistically?
Question: Do you think there is a causal relationship between them?
Three interrelated Approaches:
=> Strain and Social Disorganization lead to Cultural Deviance
I. Social Disorganization Theories
A) Social Disorganization
Chicago early 1900
Shaw & McKay
Broke with the tradition of biological inferiority of criminals
II. Strain Theories
Why can’t we simply follow the norms?
Answer: Social Structure is in our way.
determines norms about goals and means
determines expectations or aspiration levels
Structure: restricts goal achievement and access to means
Frustration: If social structure hinders us to achieve cultural goals
Anomie: Erosion of norms due to the inability to follow them
Crime is caused by frustration and anomie
Merton modified Durkheim’s concept of anomie
Durkheim: Anomie = normlessness
Merton: Anomie: when accepted norms conflict with social reality.
· This leads to strain
· This is an erosion of norms due to the inability to follow them.
Merton develops a topology on means and goals.
Merton’s Topology of Modes of Individual Adaptation
· What is adaptation? => relevant to Functionalism
· How does and individual adapt to a society?
Find examples for each mode of adaptation.
|Modes of Adaptation||Cultural Goals||Institutionalized Means|
Strain Theories are based on Robert Merton’s Work of 1957. Cultural Deviance Theory (Cohen 1955) are integrated.
A) Relative Deprivation (Judith and Peter Blau 1982)
B) General Strain Theory (Robert Agnew)
Four Sources of Strain:
· Failure to achieve Goals
· Disjunction of expectations and achievements
· Removal of positively evaluated stimuli from the individual
· Presentation of negative stimuli
Each type of strain increases the likelihood of negative emotions: fear and anger
Violence and aggression become justified.
C) Institutional Anomie Theory
1. Noneconomic functions have been devalued
2. When economic and noneconomic functions compete, noneconomic functions become subordinate.
Economic standards and norms penetrate into noneconomic realms
3. "greed and materialism have developed a cultlike status"
Social Disorganization, Strain and Cultural Deviance Theories
deprived areas loose their abilities of social control
class youth have similar goals as middle and upper-class youth, but lack the
means to achieve these goals.
inability causes rage and frustration.
these feelings lower class youth will search for illegitimate means to achieve
the goals they share with mainstream society
subculture might not only replace the means to achieve goals they share with the
mainstream culture (Stain Theory), they might even create their own norms and
Culture of Poverty
Look at the dirt and garbage in poor neighborhoods
Is it the economic stratification that creates such circumstances?
The poverty line is at approx. $15,000 for a family of four.