Sociological Explanations Of Youth Deviance

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Youth deviance refers to behaviour that goes against the norms of society which young people do. There are four key theoretical perspectives which outline youth deviance - marxism which explains that youth deviance is a form of resistance to capitalism and their working class position, functionalism which explains that youth deviance functions for youths to achieve goals and status, interactionism which believes youth deviance is a reaction to the negative labels given to young people by the media and postmodernism which explains that youth deviance is about freedom and excitement. An explanation for youth deviance is that working class youths commit crime as a resistance to capitalism. Capitalism causes crime because it promotes values such…show more content…
This is supported by the CCCS, in particular Brake who believes that working class youths simply resist and rebel the capitalist society that disadvantages them as this is a ‘magical solution’ to their economic problems. However, this explanation can be criticised as not all working class youths turn to crime in pursuit of wealth such as crimes which do not have a financial benefit. Also, middle class and upper class youths also commit ‘white collar crime’ through their businesses, such as tax evasion. However, functionalists believe that young people may be deviant because it serves a purpose to gain status and as a method of achieving their goals rather than in resistance to capitalism. Functionalists believe that crimes is a result of a poor, or in some cases a lack of socialisation into societies shared norms and values. Crime indicates anomie which shows a breakdown in consensus and therefore, youth deviance is due to youths being in the…show more content…
Interactionists believe that people with authority or power will implicitly send stereotyped messages to young people, based on their age, class, gender and ethnicity. Often, the media labels young people negatively as ‘social problems’. Young people labelled then appear to fulfil the label they have been given by the media and so fulfil the prophecies. The media examines youth behaviour more closely and then amplifies their deviance which is defined as a threat to societies values. As a result of this, young people are made the target for demands of actions from the authorities, known as a moral clampdown and this moral panic means young people are built up to be folk devils as their behaviour causes public panic and alarm and therefore, they are severely punished. Fawbert supports this as he analysed the criminalisation of clothing, such as hoodies. There was an exaggeration of the problem of urban youth and young people wearing hoodies which created the disproportionate reaction of banning hoodies from Bluewater shopping centre. However, this explanation of youth deviance can be criticised as the media is not monolithic and the media is becoming increasingly fragmented. Niche and

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