Useful Sources for learning about Subcultural Theory
In addition to your text book and main in-class hand-out, the following resources are especially useful:
- ReviseSociology.com – basically the main hand-outs on-line for easy access.
- A nice video summarising Albert Cohen’s Status Frustration Theory (a bit more in-depth and intense than in the text books)
- Cloward and Ohlin’s Illegitimate Opportunity Structure
- Walter Miller’s Focal Concerns summarised – possibly a student’s revision ppt, but it’s OK and there’s not much else out there!
- The Underclass Theory of Crime – A link to my own blog post, but there’s nothing else out there better!
Research studies and case studies to evaluate the relevance of Subcultural Theories of Deviance
To my mind – it’s worth focussing on two things to evaluate subcultural theories (I) are subcultures really set apart from the rest of society like subcultural theorists suggest and (II) does membership of subcultures encourage deviance as much as the above theories suggest?
- This Official Report by the Home Office suggests there are 4500 gang members in London.
- GangsLine argues that there are 15 000 gang members in London and 35 000 across the UK.
- There has also been a recent 23% increase in gang related crime in London – suggesting support for the continued relevance of Subcultural Theory.
- There are numerous documentaries which suggests gangs globally form distinct subcultures which encourage deviance.
- However, back to the UK – This (2016) in-depth ethnographic research in Glasgow suggests that gangs are more fluid and not as violent as you might think (it also criticises David Cameron’s view that the London Riots were mainly caused by gangs.)
- This (2015) documentary on Football Hooliganism shows that most hooligans have full-time jobs, and so this isn’t a subculture because it’s embedded in mainstream society.
- Documentaries such as Benefits Street suggest that there is a distinct underclass which is more criminal than mainstream society, but…
- This research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests the Underclass doesn’t actually exist!
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