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American Military University Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology Essay

American Military University

Question Description

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Question 1:

Using 500-700 words, discuss in detail the classical and positivist schools of criminology. No direct quotes should be utilized in the response.

Note: The essay response is to include a minimum of 3 sources listed in proper APA format with in-text citation(s) in proper APA format. In-text citations are to correspond to a source in proper APA format listed after the essay response.

Question 2:

Using 500-700 words discuss in detail subcultural theory as it relates to delinquency and crime. Additionally, briefly without using quotes give an overview of the attached article i.e., Nwalozie, C. J. (2015). Rethinking subculture and subcultural theory in the study of youth crime - A theoretical discourse. Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical Criminology, 7(1), 1-16.

Note: The essay response is to include in-text citation(s) in proper APA format. In-text citations are to correspond to a source in proper APA format listed after the essay response.

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Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology January, 2015, Vol. 7(1): 1-16 Rethinking Subculture & Subcultural Theory Nwalozie ______________________________________________ January, 2015, 7:1-16 ______________________________________________ Rethinking Subculture and Subcultural Theory in the Study of Youth Crime – A Theoretical Discourse Chijioke J. Nwalozie, New College Stamford, UK. ______________________________________________ Abstract Subcultural theory is an invention of the Anglo-American sociologists and criminologists of the 1960s and 1970s. They chiefly refer to male urban working class youths whose behaviours are contrary to the dominant society. These youths are usually culturally identified with music, dress code, tattoo, and language. Whereas, it is assumed that subculture refers to lower subordinate or dominant status of social group labelled as such, yet, in societies where the Anglo/American cultural identities are wanting, it becomes difficult to recognise such deviant group of youths as subculture. This paper argues there should be a rethink about “subculture” and “subcultural theory”. The rethink must ensure that youth subcultures are not benchmarked by those Anglo/American cultural identities, but should in the main refer to youths whose behaviours are oppositional to the mainstream culture, irrespective of the societies they come from. 1 Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology January, 2015, Vol. 7(1): 1-16 Rethinking Subculture & Subcultural Theory Nwalozie Meaning of subculture(s) One of the assumptions about “subculture” is the lower, subordinate, or deviant status of social groups labelled as such. These labelled groupings are distinguished by their class, ethnicity, language, poor and working class situations (Cutler, 2006); age or generation (Maira, 1999). These cultural and socio-structural variables make subcultures relatively homogeneous (Epstein, 2002). That is to say, subcultures must bear specific and similar cultural identities to qualify for the name, and they must also be particular to certain societies that labelled them as such. In most cases reference must be made to the Anglo/American youth subcultures, which dominated the whole idea of subculture and subcultural theory for many decades. Phil Cohen (1972:23), one of the most influential British subcultural scholars describes subculture (s): as so many variations on a central theme – the contradiction, at an ideological level, between traditional working class Puritanism, and the new hedonism of consumption; at an economic level, between the future as part of the socially mobile elite, or as part of the new lumpen. Mods, Parkers, Skinheads, Crombies, all represent, in their different ways, an attempt to retrieve some of the socially cohesive elements destroyed in their parent culture, and to combine these with elements selected from other class fractions. Cohen has clearly indicated that subculture has many varied ways of describing it, which seem contradictory. Irrespective of all these different patterns, the overriding principle is the struggle of the membership to aim at solving the problem created by the dominant culture, which apparently has been considered the main object of subcultural formation. As Newburn (2013) argues, the emergence of subculture is not just to respond to human material conditions, but far beyond that, they also represent a symbolic appraisal of the parent culture in which “style” was considered a form of resistance. Similarly, Jones (2013) stresses that the subcultural activity of youths is a manifesatation of political reaction to the dominant culture from which such youths consided themselves excluded. Since the 1990s, the term subculture has been used in a much broader perspective to explain any group of people who adjust to norms of behaviour, values, beliefs, consumption patterns, and lifestyle choices that are distinct from those of the dominant mainstream culture (Cutler, 2006). According to Gelder (2005: 1): Subcultures are groups of people that are in some way represented as nonnormative and/or marginal through their particular interests and practices, through what they are, what they do, and where they do it. They may represent themselves in this way; since subcultures are usually aware of their differences, bemoaning them, relishing them, exploiting them, and so on. But they will also be represented like this by others, who in response can 2 Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology January, 2015, Vol. 7(1): 1-16 Rethinking Subculture & Subcultural Theory Nwalozie bring an entire apparatus of social classification and regulation to bear upon them. Gelder’s definition takes into account the distinctiveness between the groups themselves on the one hand; and mainstream society on the other. The groups feel marginalized because of their life situation, hence they decide to exhibit negative behaviour. Gelder also reveals how the entire society views these groups, and especially the way they categorize and isolate them as “subcultures”. Yet subcultures share elements of the main culture, while at the same time different from it (Brake, 1987: 6). In the generic sense, the term subculture could be applied to any group of individuals whose behaviour differs from the rest of society. For example, we hear about occupational subculture (Trice, 1993; Downes, 1966; Brake, 1985); religious subculture (Gay & Ellison, 1993); consumer subculture (Schouten & Mcalexander, 1995); drug subculture (Cutler, 2006; Cohen & Sas, 1994), immigrant subculture (Brake, 1987); internet or cybercrime subculture (Adeniran, 2008; Kahn & Kellner, 2006), police subculture (Waddington, 1999; Blumenstein et al, 2012), and so on. This wider description of subculture has come to the attention of some scholars (Weinzierl & Muggleton, 2006; Cutler, 2006) who query its utility, hence their call for a reconceptualisation or replacement of the term. This new conceptualisation, it is argued, captures the changing sensibilities and practices of subcultural forms (Weinzierl & Muggleton, 2006) in relation to youth groups who are now being referred to as “channels or subchannels”; “temporary substream networks”; “neo-tribes” and “clubculture” (see Weinzierl & Muggleton, 2006). While this reconceptualisation project does not receive the outright approval of scholars like Hodkinson (2002), it is apparent that some of these confusions can be clarified once there is a recognition that different concepts are often used to abstract varied aspects of social reality, and that they can be used interchangeably with subculture to refer to a variety of youth cultural formations (see Weinzierl & Muggleton, 2006), that may have either a criminal or non-criminal connotation. A criminal group of youths is indicative of criminal subculture, which bears on the dominant culture. Therefore, a reconceptualised idea of subculture must have “relative distinctiveness”, provide a sense of “identity”, a level of “commitment”, and the relative “autonomy” to operate (see Hall & Jefferson, 2006; Hodkinson, 2002). Evolution of subcultural theory and theorists Subcultural theory and theorists have a unique Western origin. For more than half a century, subcultural theory has increasingly influenced the study of youth crime (Young, 2010). In doing so, it has developed two waves on the two sides of the Atlantic - a liberal or structural-functionalist American current of the 1950s and 1960s; and a Marxist British version of the late 1970s (see Young, 2010; Newburn, 2007; Blackman, 2005). The former started at the Chicago School, while the latter originated from the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham (CCCS) (see Young ,2010). In 1892, the University of Chicago decided to establish a Department of Sociology, with Albion Small as its founding head. Since then the School has had a great influence 3 Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology January, 2015, Vol. 7(1): 1-16 Rethinking Subculture & Subcultural Theory Nwalozie on criminological thought (Newburn, 2013). By the 1930s, the Department was already actively vibrant in ethnographic studies. Eminent scholars like Walter Recless, Fredrick Trasher, Everett Hughes, Robert Park, Edwin Sutherland, Clifford Shaw, Henry Mckay, Louis Wirth and Gerald Suttles engaged in the study of immigrant and minority communities, the city’s entire population and their criminal behaviours (Newburn, 2013). These scholars came to a conclusion that crime is necessarily a social problem rather than an individual pathological issue (Lilly et al, 2011). As Short (2002) admits, the best Chicago legacy to criminology which has evolved, is still evolving, and hopefully will continue to evolve is the project on Human Development in Chicago Neighbourhoods, which has led to the study of different aspects of crime and delinquency affecting the area, not excluding the youth groups who may come together to form subculture (s). The Chicago School first used the concept “subculture” in their explanation of delinquency (see for example Cohen, 1955; Miller, 1958; Cloward & Ohlin, 1960). Cohen (1955) went as far as developing Merton’s anomic propositions in his seminal work, Delinquent Boys. He argued that a large group of male adolescents had developed a culture, with its norms, values, and expectations contrary to the dominant culture. This subculture emerged when youths from lower socio-economic status families struggled to achieve success. When compared to youths from middle class society, those from the lower class had disadvantaged academic backgrounds. Their inability to achieve success brought about their involvement in a subculture where they could find success and status enhancement. So, this subculture refused middle class values such as academic achievement, courtesy and delayed gratification (see also Nihart et al, 2005). Cohen concludes that this delinquent subculture is “non-utilitarian”, “malicious” and “negativistic” (Cohen, 1955: 25) because it is used by status-frustrated youths as a hitback mechanism (Macdonald, 2001: 33). Therefore, from the point of view of the youths themselves, their conduct is to be considered as meaningful (see Clubb, 2001). Miller (1958) further developed the work of Cohen by identifying what he refers to as “focal concerns” of the lower class culture. He uses “focal concerns” in preference to “value”; and they include: trouble, toughness, smartness, excitement, fate and autonomy. Apparently, the “focal concerns” are a reflection of working class traditions rather than working class frustrations (see also Macdonald, 2001: 34). For Miller, middle-class norms and values are not subculturally relevant. What is relevant, he argues, is that members of the subculture conform to the distinctive value system of their own working class culture (see also Macdonald, 2001: 33). This implies that people’s circumstances in life may push them to adopt certain measures or patterns of behaviour, which may be beneficial or not. Miller put this question: why is the commission of crimes a customary feature of gangs? His answer is: street youths are motivated to commit crime by the desire to achieve ends, status, or conditions which are valued, and to avoid those that are disvalued within their most meaningful cultural milieu, through those culturally available avenues which appear as the most feasible means of achieving those ends (Miller, 1958: 17). Cloward and Ohlin (1960) improved on the groundwork established by both Cohen and Miller, namely the kind of environment that gave rise to delinquent youths (see also Nihart et al, 2005). As Cloward and Ohlin (1960: 86) maintain, adolescents who form delinquent subcultures, have internalized an emphasis upon conformist goals. Drawing on Merton’s (1938) anomie-strain theory and Shaw and Mckay’s (1942) social disorganisation theory, Cloward and Ohlin argued that lower class boys were faced with inadequacies of lawful avenues of access to these goals and unable to revise their ambitions downward, they experienced severe disappointments, hence their involvement in higher levels of delinquency than middle and upper class youths (see also Nihart et al, 4 Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology January, 2015, Vol. 7(1): 1-16 Rethinking Subculture & Subcultural Theory Nwalozie 2005). Thus, unfavourable and disappointing expectation in life could determine delinquent behaviour as a viable option. Finally, Cloward and Ohlin outlined three typologies of deviant subculture namely: criminal, conflict, and retreatist. British subcultural studies which flourished in the 1970s, was mostly pioneered by the CCCS, which earlier started in 1964, with the appointment of Richard Hoggart as its founding Director. Hoggart’s influential work, The Uses of Literacy (1957) and Raymond William’s work, Culture and Society (1958) became the foundational texts for British subcultural studies (Newburn, 2013). This year marks the 50th anniversary of the CCCS 1964-2014, and all this while, the CCCS has been fully involved in the study of popular culture and its impact on society. Like the Chicago School, the early Birmingham School focused on the link between the “deviant” sensibilities of youth “gangs” and the localities from which such gangs emerged (Bennett, 1999). Ecological studies of various parts of post-war Britain1 found poverty as the main cause of delinquency, especially when combined with the absence of the father figure. In the 1950s, the absent or working mother came in for criticism. Child-rearing practices were compared, and working class life was seen as divided into “the rough” and “the respectable”. Delinquency was found to have local traditions and values in underprivileged areas of Liverpool and London (see Brake, 1987: 59). An extreme situation was such that the so called “respectable” working class had no other option than to accept minor office jobs. This was because the working class became polarised following the replacement of the traditional skilled work with automation and machinery (Jones, 2013). With the publication of the CCCS research, British studies of youth culture experienced two fundamental changes. Firstly, emphasis shifted from the study of youth gangs to style-based youth cultures, such as Teddy boys, Mods, Rockers and Skinheads, which from the 1950s onwards rapidly became an essential feature of everyday British social life. Secondly, in keeping with the central hypothesis of the CCCS, as noted above, the “local” focus of earlier youth studies was given up completely in favour of a subcultural model of explanation (Bennett, 1999). The initial Chicago School’s premise that subcultures are critical to an understanding of deviance as normal behaviour in the face of particular social circumstances was reworked by the Birmingham School in their most influential work, Resistance Through Rituals (1976), to account for the style-centred youth cultures of post-war Britain. According to the CCCS, the deviant behaviour of such youth “subcultures” had to be understood as the collective reaction of youths themselves, or rather working-class youths, to structural changes taking place in British post-war society (Bennett, 1999). In his assessment of the two subcultural waves mentioned above, Cohen (1980: vi) said: “Both work with the same “problematic” ... growing up in a class society; both identify the same vulnerable group: the urban male working-class late adolescents; both see delinquency as a collective solution to a structurally imposed problem” in the polity. These subcultures are known for their cultural identities (such as common language, code of dressing, and music) shared by popular subcultural groups like Teddy boys, Punks, and Hip hops. These cultural identities mark them out and distinguish them from any other group or groups. Such identities present what their behaviours look like among their memberships, which they exhibit with interest and at times frustrations. Their behaviours may be criminal and noncriminal, but apparently criminal behaviours are easily identifiable among youth subcultures. It is on this note that subcultural theorists have always insisted that they are better placed to explain criminal behaviour (Blackman, 1 Thanks to scholars like Mays (1954); Morris (1957); Kerr (1958) for conducting such studies. 5 Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology January, 2015, Vol. 7(1): 1-16 Rethinking Subculture & Subcultural Theory Nwalozie 2005), and no study of youth delinquency can easily be undertaken without recourse to many of their insights (Newburn, 2007). This is because subcultural theorists tend to consider the general nature of delinquency with an emphasis on youth gangs and groups instead of the individual deviant (Newburn, 2007). Thus, they place the group in the context of the entire society (see Young, 2010). Delinquency is not about something individualistic, but refers to “gangs of boys doing things together, their actions deriving their meaning and flavour from the fact of togetherness and governed by a set of common understanding, common sentiments and common loyalties” (Cohen 1955: 178 cited in Gelder, 2005: 21). To be involved in group delinquency also implies that the individual takes delight and relief in the protective and sympathetic comfort of the group as he shares his experience of facing common tasks with them (Walsh, 1986). It is usually the group’s decision to get involved in crime, and acts in like manner. Even though the boundaries may not be well defined and the membership not specified nor does the degree of commitment, yet the subculture constitutes a definitive human association for those involved in it. It does not only involve a group of people but also a network of symbols, meaning and knowledge, which are linked with style that emerge in the day-to-day dynamics of criminal events and criminal subcultures (Ferrell, 1995). In subcultural theory, deviant subcultures are construed not as pathological groupings of maladjusted people deficient of culture, instead they are understood as meaningful attempts to resolve problems faced by the people concerned (Young, 2010; see also Brake, 1985). As Cohen (1955) argues, all human action, not excluding delinquency, is an ongoing process of problem solving. Such problems may be located in the political, cultural, social and economic structures of mainstream society. Any attempt not to solve these problems is normally resisted, even with impunity, by the subcultural group involved. Wolfgang and Ferracuti (1967) dealt with the issue of subculture in their seminal work, Subculture of Violence. They argue that the subculture is secluded and opposed to the dominant group due to the latter’s shared values which its members have learnt and adopted overtime. Such values create total disintegration and at times open aggression against the dominant group. It is also their view that violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault emanate from the subculture overpopulated by male youths (1967: 298). Contemporary criminologists have invoked the principles of subcultural theorisation in their various studies of youth offending, including armed robbery. For example, Jacobs and Wright (1999) interviewed 86 active armed robbers in St Louis Missouri (USA), on the impact of “street culture” on an offender’s decision to engage in armed robbery. They conclude that “street culture subsumes a number of powerful conduct norms, including but not limited to the hedonistic pursuit of sensory stimulation, disdain for conventional living, lack of future orientation, and persistent eschewal of responsibility” (J ...
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Running head: SOCIAL SCIENCE QUESTIONS

Social Science Questions
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Institution

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SOCIAL SCIENCE QUESTIONS

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Question 1

The classical school of criminology states that a person breaks the laws by free will
and has the knowledge of the consequences that are attached to breaking the laws. Responding
to this, this school of criminology gives the society a chance to come up with the punishment
fit to the crime committed. Basically, classical theory’s idea is that human are rational beings
and their behaviors are controlled by human will. According to classical theory, punishment
imposed to crimes should be rational as well (Moyer, 2001). According to how sever the
crime is, the punishment should be equivalent and serve the good of the public.
Classical theory perceives crime as immoral behaviors that make the society weak. It
also supports punishment as a way to help provide examples of what happens when law is
broken.According to Beccaria, judiciary should not be the ultimate source of law but the
legislature should take the role. He continues to state that the role of the judiciary is to
determine whether someone is guilty or not. Classical theory brought up the aspect of police
and courts. It also suggests that prisons and strict laws with stiff penalties are the best way to
stop and reduce crime (Moyer, 2001)..
Classical theory influenced the framing of the Bill of Rights and also formation of the
United States c...

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