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Reza Barmaki

SOC211 March 10 th Lecture #8 Subculture and Deviance - key components of culture from a sociological perspective: o values and norms – values usually expressed in norms – culture usually has more norms and core values  they guide behaviour and value judgement Subculture - a part of broader culture - distinctive culture within a culture - mores and values differ (than culture) - may be conducive to deviance - key components of subculture: o 1. focal concerns expressed by:  1. vocabularies of motives  2. lingo/symbols/behaviour o 2. continuous interaction  required to keep subculture alive Origins of Subculture Theory - started in the Chicago School in the 1920s - care about how values are passed on from generation to generation o one of the key ideas about CS is that deviance is not random – it is logical and transmitted in specific neighbourhoods - usually working class or poor neighbourhoods o people are in ‘survival mode’ – reflected in their values and culture  how to survive day to day – this way of life passed on from generation to generation Clifford and Shaw: Cultural Transmission Theory - happens in disorganized areas where deviance is normal - there is successful deviance because there are role models for the young o this survival mode is learned by the younger generation - there is transmitted generality  normal socialization o you can be socialized to do unsocialized things Edwin Sutherland: Theory of Differential Association - when people interact in groups, they learn things from other people o subculture becomes a school for deviance and provides the opportunities and techniques to commit deviant acts o through this, we learn the values, motives, techniques and attitudes of the subculture - we discriminate with whom we interact with o ex. students are likely to interact with students, not gang members - people from a subculture society generally: o learn anti-social values o at some point their anti-social values outweigh the pro-social values o are more likely to commit deviant acts o have an internal struggle of which values outweigh the other - the degree of interaction for learning this is very important – interactional factors/degree of learned values depends on: o 1. frequency: how often o 2. duration: how long o 3. priority: early associations o 4. intensity: strength Later Developments of Subculture Theory Post WW2: 1950s-1960s - subculture theories can be divided into 3 categories based on their core arguments o 1. Social Failure  the values in what we call ‘mainstream culture’ are middle class values and they promote: competition, individualism, mobility, SES, etc.  the mechanism to reach these goals/values is through education/school  to reach the goals and values and get your education, you need motivation • if you lack these values, you are most likely to fail  there is a lack of access (to education and these values/goals) which leads to problems – not everyone is middle class o 2. Cultural Deficit  family is to transmit middle class values and goals (listed above) • role of culture as a motivator  there is frustrated mobility • thus, more likely to form subculture o 3. Marxism  proletariat alienation of the working class • results in frustration and thus the formation of subculture • subculture is seen as a consequence of capitalist and middle class values Cohen: Status Frustration – School is the Problem - points to the school as a problem o our education system is driven by middle class values that emphasize mobility, individualization, SES, etc. - suggests deviance as non-utilitarian – people do deviant acts for fun o ex. joyriding - so why do they do it? (deviant acts) o they are poorly educated – cannot compete with middle class people/kids o language of schools and a lack of meaning for this language at home - immediate results: o frustration  leads to reaction formation  = formation of deviant subcultures  = opposition/devaluation of middle class culture • including speech, behaviour, goals, etc. - future results: o recipe for failure o the role of motivation that values provide for us is missing  we need guidance from culture – a center that tells people what to do/believe in Miller: Working Class Focal Concerns - what makes these people come together and do deviant things o they usually have oppositional values and concerns  they will fail at every institution of value in that culture (that they oppose) – except the penal system – the people who fail are those who reject social values - focal concerns of working class: o command widespread respect and persistent attention o high degree of emotional attachment  get really happy when people accept their beliefs, but also get very angry when they don’t - **why are the focal concerns what they are – FATEST: o Fate: working class values say that life cannot be changed, might as well make the best of it  life is a hopeless arena for struggle – it is your destiny o Autonomy: oppositional nature of the idea “you are being pushed around, don’t let them push you around”  in society, you are being pushed around by authority o Trouble: life involves violence – don’t run away from it o Excitement: poor people are bored and don’t have much to do  for them, life is a big ‘no’ and they are invisible  thus, they resort to crime, violence, drugs, etc. o Smartness: street smart – look good and act sharp  knowing your way around the streets - Toughness: show manliness – usually by drinking, engaging in criminal acts, womanizing, etc. o ex. usually by 20s-30s, people in gang culture are in jail for lengthy sentences - all these factors are anti-social – they will get in you into trouble sooner or later o live by the rule of 3 – jail, morgue, hospital – one o
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