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Lecture notes Nov 2 - Subcultures and Learning Lecture notes from November 2nd class on Subcultures and Learning. Notes are detailed - I catch almost everything Professor Innocente says.


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Nathan Innocente

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SOC212Y1 Crime and Deviance
Subculture and Learning
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Subcultures
Ex: punks, musicians, office subcultures, Goths etc.
Vast term that encompasses different groups
In the study of crime and deviance, it focuses on very specific
groups this is a criticism of it
Subcultures form as a solution to problems
Typically lower class youth (though not limited to)
Seen as reactions against achievement oriented and competitive
middle class (against middle class values)
Reaction against diminished opportunities for work and leisure
Why are deviant solutions generated in the first place?
Primarily gangs and deviant subcultures that are looked at
No summary of main points for subculture and learning individual
approaches are so different that they cannot be summarized.
Social background
Prosperity and rise in consumerism in the 1950s
Superiority and nomalization of middle class values set in
Middle class becomes majority
Arguably believed that middle class values and norms won
the war hard work, industriousness etc.
Right to education
Belief that their children had a right to university education
Huge influx of university students
Urbanization and deteriorated city centers
As pointed out by Chicago school
Moving away from city centers
Great depression
Idea that social forces cause crime (see strain theory)
Intellectual background
Amalgam of intellectual contributions
Learning theory derived from Chicago school interactionism
Life histories and criminal apprenticeship
Critiques of existing theory (no scientific, testable studies)
Combines Chicago and Merton’s strain

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Interest in social structure and class, with Chicago emphasis on
process
Trying to figure out how macro structures cultural norms;
macro structures link to
Theoretical Perspectives Differential Association
Edwin Sutherland
Stresses the content of communication with others
Not just associations with criminals but also definitions provided by
associates
The quality and weight of definitions
Main Tenets of Differential association
criminal behaviour is learned
Learned by a process of interaction and communication with
others
Occurs within intimate groups
Learning includes techniques but also motives, drives,
rationalizations and attitudes
Learned from definitions of law as favourable or unfavourable
(if you learn definitions that promote law violation, you’re
more likely to commit crime)
Sometimes there is more brute pressure or incentive to
commit crime not a blanket effect; flexible, dynamic
Learning crime is the same as learning anything else
Its not a pst-hoc logic just because you have values that
can be met by crime, this doesn’t mean crime is cause by
needing to achieve those values
MAIN POINTS crime is learned in groups through
definitions, techniques, motives, drives learning process
mediates all other aspects of crime
SUBCULTURES
Culture of delinquency
Albert Cohen
Delinquency concentrated in lower classes typically in the form of
gangs
Everyone competes for status, but not everyone competes equally
Middle-class measuring rod
Disadvantages the lower class
Crime is learned by youth from youth > socially disorganized
neighbourhoods > experience strain > want to achieve but adapt to
lack of opportunity
Borrowing from Strain, social disorganization etc.
Has to do with “status frustration”
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Everyone tries to achieve status if you are prevented from
this (ex: by living in disorganized neighbourhoods or
experiencing strain) you’ll experience status frustration
Teachers are middle class values in schools are
automatically middle class > lower class youth are
automatically disadvantaged. Middle class measuring rod
Measuring all youth by the standards of lower class youth
Sharing, delaying gratification, setting long term goals,
respect for people’s property
Social structure and culture make incompatible demands
Subcultures evolve to solve problems of lower class status
Status-frustration and reaction-formation
Hostile overreaction to middle class norms
New status criteria emerge in subculture
Delinquent gangs
Non-utilitarian
o Crime for fun, not profit
Malicious
o Delight in discomfort of others
Negativistic
o Reaction to middle class ideas
Social disorganization + strain = status frustration
Status frustration is a common element experienced by all
lower class youth > deviant subculture is needed
The ones who feel status frustration the most acutely will be
attracted to deviant subculture
Status frustration + Differential association/deviant
subculture = delinquency
Which most closely resembles Cohen’s approach (conformist,
innovationist, rebels, )
These would be Rebels they’re replacing norms and means with
their own norms and means
Differential Opportunity
Reichard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin
Context of deviant adaptations
different opportunity structures legitimate and illegitimate
Many ways for lower class youth to achieve aspirations (not just
Merton’s money success)
Subcultural patterns to determine the form of delinquency
Kinds of crimes they will commit can be predicted by the kind
of subcultural pattern
see chart
Subculture
Social
opportunities
Activities
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