Albert Cohen Approach Applied to Gangs and Drug Use in Teenagers

Topics: Gang, Criminology, Crime Pages: 11 (3578 words) Published: March 4, 2005
Albert Cohen's thesis is that class based status frustration is the origin of subcultures. Crime culture existed in certain social groups and the individuals learned the value of the delinquent subculture through participation in gangs. Delinquent subcultures have values that are in opposition to those of the dominant culture. The strain is rooted by low economical conditions, poor parental relations, and low school standards, with no chance of succeeding in the future. The anti social structure of cities also affects the why a boy and or girl joins a gang. The formation of gangs in cities, and most recently in suburbs, is assisted by the same lack of community among parents. While almost half of high seniors used marijuana at least once, thirty-seven percent said they had used it in the past year, and twenty-three percent said they had used it in the previous month.

Strain Theory, posits the disjuncture between socially and sub culturally sanctioned mean and goods as the cause of criminal behavior. Albert Cohen's thesis is that class based status frustration is the origin of subcultures. Cohen's focus is on school based achievement status. The institution of the school symbolizes middle class values for honesty, courtesy, personality, responsibility, and the middle class measuring rod. It is this environment where competition takes place for status, approval, or respect. Strain is interpersonal, located at the level of group interaction.

There are many problems facing today's society. One of the problems is the violent condition that surrounds the lives of children in America. We are awarded of the violence among our juveniles because we read, hear and see it. The newspapers, magazines, news media, and our neighborhoods testify the living proof of the chaos. What can we do to influence these kids to stay out off trouble? First of all, we have to realize this is a very serious problem. And it has to be stopped. The second step is to figure out what causes children to be violent and become juvenile delinquents. This negative attitude causes them to lead a life of delinquency and a life isolated from society's idealistic world. When we ask this question, many others come in mind. Do these problems begin in the family? Are parents good role models or are they condoning the violence? How can we prevent parents from destroying the minds and future of these children?

Albert Cohen was born in 1918 in Boston, Massachusetts. He received a Bachelors degree in Sociology from Harvard University, Masters degree in Sociology from Indiana University and a Ph D. in Sociology from Harvard University. He received the American Society of Criminology Edwin H. Sutherland award in 1993. In 1955 Albert K. Cohen wrote Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang. Cohen assumed that the delinquent subculture was found in the lower class, where the social control was not strong enough to constrain the delinquency. Cohen asserted that "the delinquent subculture was mostly to be found in the working class". Delinquent subculture was the most common form in American society, especially in lower-class males. He characterized the delinquent subcultures as "non-utilitarian, malicious, and negativistic."

Cohen contends that crime culture existed in certain social groups and the individuals learned the value of the delinquent subculture through participation in gangs. In his theory, Cohen tried to explain why children of the lower class were induced to become delinquent boys and what the characteristics of delinquent subculture were.

Delinquent subcultures have values that are in opposition to those of the dominant culture. These subcultures emerge in the nation's largest cities. The strain is rooted by low economical conditions, poor parental relations, and low school standards, with no chance of succeeding in the future. Cohen notes that the position of one's family in the social structure determines the problems the child...

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