Essay on Is Working Class Crime a Product of Social Background?

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Working Class Crime is Best Understood as the Product of the Social Background of the Offender

To outline and assess this view we will need to look not only at the working class as a sub-culture but also at the other sub-cultures, as a comparison. All sub-cultural theories share the same belief that people who commit crime have different values from the average law abiding citizens. However, these same people associated with crime, do not live in a world with completely different values, they just amend certain values which may justify criminal behaviour, this in turn creates these sub-cultures.

Strain is a term that is used to refer to explanations of criminal behaviour that argue that crime is
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The seconded of these schools was the "Strain Theory". In the 1930's, Robert Merton (1938), tried to locate deviance within a functionalist framework. For Merton, crime and deviance were evidence of a poor fit (strain) between the socially accepted goals of society and the socially approved means of obtaining those goals. The resulting strain led to deviance.

Merton argued that all societies set their members certain goals, and at the same time they also provide socially approved ways of achieving these goals. Merton was aware that not everyone shared the same goals, and he pointed out that in a stratified society the goals were linked to a person's position in the social structure. Those lower down had restricted goals. The system worked well as long as there was a reasonable chance that a majority of people were able to achieve their goals. However, if the majority of the population wee unable to achieve the socially set goals then they became disenchanted with society and sought out alternative (often deviant) ways of behaving. Merton used Durkheim's term anomie, to describe this situation.

The following different forms of behaviour then could be