Gang Membership : Delinquency And Social Control Essay

Gang Membership : Delinquency And Social Control Essay

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Gang Membership: Delinquency and Social Control
Sociologists see deviance as a collection of individuals, conditions, and actions that society disvalues, finds offensive or condemns. In part because gangs as deviant groups violate societies norms through crimes such as theft etc. Various explanations exist to explain the formation of gangs; Howard Becker, an American sociologist, claims that negative labels excaberate deviant behaviors by excluding individuals (Skatvedt & Schou, 2008). Further, individuals cannot distinguish between false needs such as watches, cars etc. and true needs (food, water, etc.) (Marcuse, 1964). Thus, the strain theory suggests that the inability to legitimately achieve socially desirable goals such as having a car etc., through hard-work leads to the formation of gang subcultures in which they reject the core values of societies by illegitimately obtaining the car through robbery (Merton, 1997). Societies disapproval of illegitimate methods to obtain material goods leads to sanctions of social control against gang members. Negative labels that cause social exclusion and the inability to acquire socially desirable goals (cars, luxury items etc.) without criminal activities leads to an individual’s greater involvement in gangs, thus society attempts to contain their delinquent nature through methods of social control.
The consequences of labeling
Deviance involves breaking norms and evoking negative reactions from societal members through the association of negative labels. According to Becker, the labelling theory of deviance looks at what happens to individuals after they are labelled as deviant (Skatvedt & Schou, 2008) The symbolic interactionist approach focuses on the role of social labels and...

... middle of paper ...

...ociety discourages gang participation and activites in local communites.
Conclusions and Future Study
In the end, gangs as a deviant group violate the legitimate methods of hard work and education to achieve shared goals of wealth and material objects. Once groups acquire a deviant identity they are unwillingly cast in negative social roles (incapable of success etc). In applying the strain theory, contemporary consumer culture perpetuates an instabiale desire for more wealth and commodities; in turn, a gang members involvement in shop lifting or street robbery is seen as an attempt to bridge the consumer/commodity deficit. Ultiamtely, intervention strategies impose sanctions upon gang members to force them to conform to societal standards of legitimacy. Further studies can be done on the effectivness of various social control methods on reducing gang membership.

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