‘Critically Discuss The View That Sub Cultural Theories Continue To Provide A Major Contribution To Explaining Youth Offending Behaviour In Contemporary Society’

2620 words - 11 pages

Youth offending behaviour can be described as anti-social behaviours carried out by young people and how they commit various crimes throughout society. Deviant subcultures have been one area which has evidently shown to be causes of such behaviours. Researchers have clearly viewed the ideas and theories of early deviant subcultures through out the US and UK and provided us with theories to explain such behaviours, but do these theories contribute to contemporary society? Youth subcultures are groups which have formed with distinct styles, behaviours and certain interests. These cultures create an identity for youths external to social institutions such as their family lives, people at ...view middle of the document...

e. working class are less likely to read as well as those of higher status. Therefore youths seemed to create their own subcultures when they felt like the outsiders and this made them feel comfortable and in control. This theory in principal was criticised, and it was said that this idea of subcultures being related to working class and middle class is all made up. Therefore it is less likely that this theory contributes to youth offending behaviours in today’s society.

However although there has been focus on the lower class concerns and the idea of working class being opposed to middle class values, which was leading to youth offending behaviours within certain sub cultures, Miller (1958) rejects this idea. Miller explores the idea of juvenile delinquency being rooted at living conditions as the cause of youth offending behaviours so here comes the idea of poverty and as explain later Miller explores further years down the line . The main concept explored was ‘Focal concerns’ instead of the idea of values being used to describe these subcultures he suggested that there are six focal concerns involved with lower class and this was the reason for their behaviours. So although it has only been touched on it has more involvement in contemporary society in explaining youth offending behaviour as Miller attempts to expand on the ideas of poverty.

More recent researchers which may contribute to understanding the youth offending behaviours of those in subcultures are Cloward and Ohlin (1960s) whom suggested the ‘differential opportunity theory’. They suggested that youth offending behaviour only resulted as a cause of members wanting success and achievement but they are unable to get that through adequate social means. The argument which a rised was that people are creating their own gangs as and when they please. They projected three different types of deviant subcultures and disputed that the ability for each to thrive is dependent on the place in which they develop their subcultures and the accessibility of deviant opportunities to take place. This theory shows that through out contemporary society there are still the ideas of subcultures existing and helping to understand and explain youth offending behaviours. However all of these US theories have shown to be excessively deterministic not only is difference shown from non offender and offenders, but people seem to have compulsory involvement within these subcultures due to being committed to some sort of ethical code. The idea is that these youth offenders may be drawn into commitment of these subcultures deeper than they want to be and be at risk.

However Sykes and Matza (1957) looked passed these deterministic views, they supposed that most youth offenders would eventually grow out of this youth offending behaviour. They attempted to explain why delinquents tended to have a drift in and out of certain behaviours. They suggested when the law was in place delinquents would...

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