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Book Review With Use Of Sociological Theories Of: Ain't No Makin'it: Aspirations & Attainment In A Low Income Neighborhood By Jay Mac Leod

1916 words - 8 pages

Ain't No Makin' It, was insightfully written by Jay MacLeod. MacLeod conducted his study as an undergrad student attending a nearby university. His goal was to observe people in their own setting to begin to understand and test certain theories. The three main theories that will be used to support the book are Merton's Strain Theory, Sutherland's Differential Association Theory, and Karl Marx's Achievement Ideology. The book follows the lives and academic and economic struggles of teenagers from the Clarendon Heights low-income housing development.Clarendon Heights was a neighborhood that was looked down upon by society. Many felt that Clarendon Heights residents choose to live in community ...view middle of the document...

The Hallway Hangers did not see a reason to conform to society's norms, because they were from a subculture, otherwise, they were outcasts' of society. This is a surprising twist because often times you may find minorities with the pessimistic views of the Hallway Hangers.The mothers of the Hallway Hangers had little or no education with the exception of one mother who had a high school education. Families of the boys were not employed and depended on aid from the government or committed unlawful acts to survive and make ends meet. They did not have support from their families, and it appeared that the mothers did not enforce school attendance. The Hallway Hangers made the decision to place blame on others for their misfortunes.Merton's Strain theory suggests that poverty causes crime. As explained by www.homestead.com "Strain is understood in two ways: social processes and personal experiences. Structural strain refers generally to the processes by which inadequate regulation at the societal level filters down to how the individual perceives his or her needs. Individual strain refers to the frictions and pains experienced by the individual as they look for ways to meet their needs (the motivational mechanism that causes crime)". "Merton's Strain Theory is a "means-end theory of deviance" crime breeds in the gap between culturally induced aspirations for economic success and structurally distributed possibilities of achievement" (www.homestead.com).The Hallways hangers were lethargic, unmotivated, careless, disrespectful, and had no respect for authority. They figured that upward mobility was not an option, and they would not waste their time to achieve success. Therefore, crime was the easiest way to get money. One may view the Hallways Hangers as innovators because they lacked the means to obtain shared goals and turned to illegal ways to achieve valued cultural means. Another approach would be that they are also retreativist because they lack the means and do not share society's goals. The youth grew up in poverty, and they do not share cultural goals of success. They began self-destructive behavior at an early age and committed to alcohol and drug abuse (Merton).Karl Marx's achievement ideology deals with the false belief in social mobility. In other words, hard work and good grades in school equals good paying jobs, thus social mobility through class. Those who believe in this ideology believe there is a pay off in the end. The main pay off is advancing to a higher social class. It is unfortunate that people do not have total control over their future because economic and educational systems limit people's choices without their knowledge.The Brothers were the group of Black teenagers (with the exception of a White teen) whom were optimistic about life in spite of their racial and social barriers. They felt if they worked hard and obtained good jobs they would succeed and rise above the stereotypes and set backs of the real world. These...

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