It is useful for highlighting why, in the working class, those who cannot achieve in education, they then therefore suffer from status frustration and in this process turn to other people who also cannot achieve in this institution. Thus, explaining why deviance subcultures exist. This theory of status frustration is said to focus too much on utilitarian crime which is committed for material gain, but what it does not say much about is the explanation for why people commit non-utilitarian crimes like vandalism and assault. Cohen realised this and backed up this explanation by talking about alternative status hierarchy. When working class boys find that they cannot perform well in mainstream education, they look at the values of not only the education system, but the values in modern society and turn them upside down, by valuing the opposite.
The term subcultural crime and deviance implies the violation of laws or social norms by various groups within society. A subculture is a collective response to mainstream culture with their own separate values and beliefs. These groups have been studied in depth by sociologists and many have attempted to explain subcultural crime and deviance through the existence of deviant subcultures. Originally the work of Merton surrounding strain theory claimed that when there was a strain between the goals of society and the means of obtaining the goals then people would turn to crime. However Subcultural theorists developed this idea claiming that people experiencing strain seek different forms of success.
This happens in many ways, but Merton most pertinently mentions 'innovative' citizens who commit crime to achieve society's goals, 'rebels' who actively reject society's values, causing them to commit crime and a 'retreatist' form of living that often involved law-breaking via drug consumption. This is useful as it not only links crimes such as robbery to the structure of society - implying that impoverished people may 'innovatively' steal the consumer goods that capitalism implies hold social gravitas - but also explains the various different fragments of society who cause different types of crime. One criticism of Merton's theory is that does not explain why people will choose a certain type of crime when faced by the 'strain' of society. Marxists also believe that the crime rate amongst the bourgeoisie is much higher than official statistics show, with much of ‘white-collar’ crime going undetected. Hughes and Langdon investigated this phenomenon and found four fundamental reasons: low visibility; high complexity; difficulty to assign blame and difficulty to ascertain victims.
The Marxist approach as an explanation of crime and deviance concentrates on the unfair nature of the capitalist society in which we live and how it drives individuals into a life of crime. Marxism is criticised by other theories that do not share their opinion on capitalism – this therefore means they do not share their opinion on crime and deviance. The traditional Marxist view on crime and deviance is that capitalism is a system based on greed, competition, and consumerism and that this creates the ideal conditions and need for crime. They say that capitalism drives people to commit criminal activities, crime is motivated by financial gain which is logical in a capitalist system, they can also explain non-utilitarian crimes by saying they can be caused by frustration with the unjust system we live in in todays society. Marxists also believe that the capitalist system creates laws that are seen to favour the working class and make them think the system is fair and just, however, these are only put in place to appease the subject class and give the appearance of fairness.
And of course none of these are good escape routes from poverty and we all believe in the term "poverty causes crime". But it’s not always the poor who commits crime. Mostly the poor or the middle class people will go after crimes to fulfill their temporary desires. For example raping, stealing and sometimes murder too. Since the low class poor people are not usually educated, they often easily “pushed” into the crimes by the high class people.
Lastly, competition with other organisations has led to a De-monopolisation in certain markets the Mafia used to create a lot of revenue from. All of these factors have contributed to the downfall of what was the most feared organisation the FBI has ever faced, eclipsing Al-Qaeda and the KKK. Introduction: The word “Mafia” is a term used to describe an organisation that profits from illegal means of racketeering with the use of violence and intimidation. They would normally exploit economic activity, like the stock market, and interfere with trade by drug trafficking. The reason to why many of the members of the Mafia were not sent to prison was due to “the code of silence”.
Many Marxists also argue that a capitalist economic system generates crime, as economic self-interest and personal gain rather than collective well-being is encouraged. Chambliss (1976) argued; "the greed, self-interest and hostility generated by the capitalist system motivate many crimes at all levels within society." The Marxist view that the laws made by the state represent the interests of the ruling class is perhaps a little narrow as the vast majority of laws actually protect the lives of all members of society, not just the ruling classes. For example; laws against 'breaking and entering' protect all stratas in society. Marxist views also appear to be arguing that as laws
Because Marxists see the ‘system’ as the cause of crime, much of the focus is on systems of power and control (that is, the police and courts). William Chambliss (1978) argued that there are many things that could be deemed as criminal if the laws where not specified by the ruling class, for example the unfair distribution of wealth which is highlighted by the discrepancy between the substantially wealthy residing in close proximity to the homeless. Chambliss went on to argue that the state passes laws to protect property rather than people, claiming that “the heart of the capitalist state is the protection of private property”. Pearce (1976) further argues that whilst some laws are passed that appear to benefit the working class (for example, health and safety), they actually serve a hidden purpose. Not only does it ensure a healthy and efficient workforce, it increases feelings of loyalty towards employers, thus serving the needs of the owners of the means of production.
Rather than focusing on social situations, the criminal and deviant act, the interactionists focused on the reaction to the act and its effects on the deviant individual. One main possible criticisms of interactionist theory is that to some extent ignores and privatisation and its effect on crime. Can negative labelling be the only reason that crime is predominantly more in working class area than in middle class ones? The “new criminology” was a radical development of traditional Marxist theory (Young, Walton and Taylor) they attempted to combine the process of labelling with Marxist explanations of social inequality to explain crime. A criticism of both the original interactionists and the new criminology came from the “New Left Realists”
General Strain Theory Can were on lives or the lack of money cause someone to commit a crime? Or can the stress of losing someone trigger so many emotions that it will cause someone to kill in revenge? According to the General Strain Theory this may be the case. Criminology today an integrative introduction defines Strain as the pressure that individuals feel to reach socially determined goals (Schmalleger, 2012, p.157). General Strain Theory is considered to be a social structure theory which looks at the formal and informal economic and social arrangements (or structure) of society as the root causes of crime and deviance (Schmalleger, 2012, p.151).