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Created: June 22, 2003
Latest Update: October 9, 2003

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ/SOCA 233 Criminology: Week 8
Culture Conflict & Subcultural Theories
You will be held accountable for purposes of grading for the readings and exercises listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition, you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.

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Week 8: Week of October 19, 2003

  • Topic:Culture Conflict & Subcultural Theories

  • Preparatory Readings:
    • Williams and McShane. Criminology Theory. chapters by Sellin, Cohen, Cloward & Ohlin, and Miller
    • Pollock. Criminal Women. ch. 5
    • optional -- Adler. 6

  • Lecture: in class

  • Concepts:

    • culture conflict
    • middle class measuring rod
    • differential opportunity
    • criminal gangs, conflict gangs, retreatist gangs
    • focal concerns

  • Discussion Questions:

    1. Sellin describes culture conflict as conflicts of conduct norms. Explain what this means for the study of criminality and the prevention of criminal behavior.

    2. Briefly explain Sellin's theory of culture conflict.

    3. What are the major differences between the three subcultural theories of Cohen, Cloward & Ohlin, and Miller? Why.

    4. Which of the four theories discussed this week best explains today's gangs? Why.

  • Past Lectures and Related Links:

      Theory Resources Page

      Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

  • Some Recommended Activities:

    1. Show and Tell: Bring in a current event or find a program (other than those mentioned in the readings or lectures) showing how the subcultural theories inform policy.

    2. Explore one of these topics:
      --- How effective are gang intervention and prevention programs with the subcultural theory as its foundation? Why.
      --- You are a consultant called in to address the rise of female gang activity and violence. On what theory or theories would you bae your intervention? Are gender based theories necessary? [from Adler, 2004, p. 165] Why.

      A Creative Project with CSUDH students! Check out Visual Essays Project. If interested, let me know.

    3. Recommended Readings

      Thorsten Sellin. Culture Conflict and Crime.

      Albert Cohen. Delinquent Boys.

      Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin . Delinquency and Opportunity.

    Now, check the Minimum Requirements for Criminology, Week 6, 7 and 8.

    Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2003.
    "Fair use" encouraged.