Youth Deviance Essays

1376 Words Apr 20th, 2013 6 Pages
Deviance is defined as the recognized violation of cultural norms. This is an extremely broad definition, and depending on who is explaining it, the above definition can mean a variety of different things. Critically examine the theory of deviance with reference to young people and their membership in deviant subcultures or gangs.

Deviance is associated with young people today and is rapidly on the increase within the street and school environment. Young deviants are engaging in gang membership and subcultures with a means of social belonging, social interest and ethnic identity. There are several sociological and subcultural theories which deem to explain deviance. Some of the theories are functionalist pretentious that criminal
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The Anomie Theory goes with Merton’s statement that, “good can cause evil”, where unrestrained ambition is a prime cause of deviance.

Anomie is a situation in which cultural norms break down because of fast change. Merton slightly changed the concept of Anomie where he discussed the dysfunction between the goals and the means. Merton proceeded to use the functionalist perspective where he viewed deviance as a result of inadequate integration or cultural affiliation. Merton looked at the agreement on values and norms.

The Anomie Theory puts a great deal of emphasis on the role of culture and merged aspects. He proceeds to explain that social structures are the source of lower-class high crime rates and deviance.

Merton had three (3) adaptations of Anomie;

* Rebels: reject the goals and try to overthrow the presented social order and its cultural values. * Retreatists: abandon all efforts to attain conformist social goals in favour of deviant adaptation. * Innovators: use illegitimate, and sometimes illegal, means to gain societally defined success goals, because their experiences limit access to legitimate needs.

Supporting on Robert K Merton’s Anomie Theories, Albert. K Cohen argues like Merton that everyone grasps the same goals and that the lower classes do not have the chance to implement these goals. Cohen’s theory, ‘The Delinquent Subculture’ is a functionalist theory which attempts to elucidate crime and deviance by

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