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Running Head: Albert Cohen’s Theory of Delinquent Subcultures
Since time immemorial, crimes have been committed in the world societies. In the recent past, crime rate has increased significantly. Different theories have been put in place to explain these crimes. The functionalist theory is one of the strain theories that attempts to deeply explain crime and deviance as they occur in the societies. Albert Cohen’s theory of delinquent subcultures focuses on mainstream cultural objectives and goals in the vast range of societies. In addition, the theory centralizes on the reasons why the lower class people in the world societies have failed to attain theory desired goals and objective thus replacing them with deviant behavior which often give rise to criminal activities. According to Cohen, the criminal acts that individuals often engage after failing to achieve their objectives leads to development of delinquent subcultures whose objectives and goals sharply contrast with those associated with achieving success in the society.
Focusing on delinquents as ooposed to adults, the theory explains that occurrence of crimes in the society is associated with poor upbringing of young children. Shortly after World War II, Cohen discovered that high number of baby boomers engage in criminal activities in the societies. This is profound in the lower class societies. Everyone in the society holds the same goals but the opportunity to achieve them differs. The lower class have limited opportunities to fulfill their objectives hence some have resorted to criminal activities as away of nursing these frustrations. According to Cohen, the disparity in the accessibility of opportunities for achieving goals has resulted directly to criminal activities. The mainstream goals and objectives are replaced with criminal activities as the alternative of achieving success.
Delinquent behavior among the young people in the societies is uprising against what people in the upper class and the middle class believe should be. The poor conditions experienced by the poor class in the societies, the youths encounter another form of culture that sociologist has labeled status frustration. So what actually happens is that, because these individuals do not fit the existing culture and norm, they ended up forming gangs in an attempt to support each other. The formed gangs are very rebellious and engage in opposing the rules, processes, systems, goals and objectives of the society. These individuals take norms from the larger society or culture, but turn them upside down. Therefore, the delinquent conducts among the young people in the society is right by the standards and rules of the subculture precisely since it is against the norms of the larger society and culture.
The lower class people have been sidelined in the society. They do not acquire necessary communication skills, which in the modern societies is a very crucial skill. Cohen theory explains that delinquent subcultures do no occur as result individual deviant behavior only but by societal factors that pressurize these individuals into forming them.
One flaw that children face in the lower class society is that they are not capable of producing a positive image in the eyes of the responsible authorities. They cannot conform to what Cohen calls “authority figures middle-class measuring tools.” Unlike positive evaluations of individuals, negative evaluations follow individuals for the rest of their lives unless a corrective action is taken to change it. Fundamentally, the lower-class boys in the society .............
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