Grouping based on economic or social class and characterized by the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and prestige.
Segment of the population whose members are at a relatively similar economic level and who share attitudes, values, norms, and an identifiable lifestyle.
Culture of Poverty
A separate lower-class culture, characterized by apathy, cynicism, helplessness, and mistrust of social institutions, such as schools, government agencies, and the police, that is passed from one generation to the next.
The lowest social stratum in any country. whose members lack the education and skills needed to function successfully in modern society.
Social Structure Theory
The view that disadvantaged economic-class position is a primary cause of crime.
Social Disorganization Theory
Branch of social structure theory that focuses on the breaking down of institutions such as the family, school, and employment in inner-city neighbourhoods.
Branch of social structure theory that sees crime as a function of the conflict between people's goals and the means available to obtain them.
The anger, frustration, and resentment, experienced by people who believe they cannot achieve their goals through legitimate means.
Cultural Deviance Theory
Branch of social structure theory that sees strain and social disorganization together resulting in a unique lower-class culture that conflicts with conventional social norms.
A set of values, beliefs, and traditions unique to a particular social class or group within a larger society.
Process whereby values, beliefs, and traditions are handed down from one generation to the next.
An area undergoing a shift in population and structure, usually from middle-class residential to lower-class mixed use.
As working and middle class families flee inner-city poor areas, the most disadvantaged population is consolidated in urban ghettos.
Social control exerted by cohesive communities, based on mutual trust, including intervention in the supervision of children and maintenance of public order.
A lack of norms or clear social standards. Because of rapidly shifting moral values, the individual has few guides to what is socially acceptable.
View that anomie results when socially defined foals (such as wealth and power) are universally mandated but access to legitimate means (such as education and job opportunities) is stratified by class and status.
Institutional Anomie Theory
The view that anomie pervades modern culture because the drive for material wealth dominates and undermines social and community values.
The goal of accumulating material goods and wealth through individual competition; the process of being socialized to pursue material success and to believe it is achievable.
General Strain Theory (GST)
The view that multiple sources of strain interact with an individual's emotional traits and responses to produce criminality.
Negative Affective States
Anger, frustration and adverse emotions produced by a variety of sources of strain.
Values, such as toughness and street smarts, that have evolved specifically to fit conditions in lower class environment.
A value system adopted by lower class youths that is directly opposed to that of the larger society.
A form of culture conflict experienced by lower class youths because social conditions prevent them from achieving success as defined by the larger society.
Middle-Class Measuring Rods
The standards by which authority figures, such as teachers and employers, evaluate lower class youngsters and often prejudge them negatively.
Irrational hostility evidenced by young delinquents, who adopt norms directly opposed to middle class goals and standards that seem impossible to achieve.
The view that lower class youths, whose legitimate opportunities are limited, join gangs and pursue criminal careers as alternative means to achieve universal success goals.