Strain Theory

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The four theories of delinquency are in place to try and help explain facts about delinquency and its causes, as well as ways to prevent and control delinquency and understand our own behavior and that of those around us (Agnew, 97). The first of the four theories is strain theory. Strain theory is the view that “ordinary people are pressured into crime or delinquency by difficult or frustrating circumstances” (Agnew, 115). Strains include a failure to achieve goals inhibited by way of finances, status and respect, excitement, and autonomy from adults, and the loss of positive stimuli/ presentation of negative stimuli that is associated with mistreatment by way of insult or injury. The result of delinquency in strain is due to benefits seemingly…show more content…
The basis of this theory is that juveniles learn to engage in and conform to delinquency from the people they are associated with. The peers of the juveniles engaged in social learning of delinquency are reinforcing negative behaviors, teaching beliefs favorable to delinquency, and being delinquent models. The rap artists are thought to be doing all of those things. Some of the fans of these rappers take the music too seriously and their emotions are overtaken by how much they can relate to the song. As mentioned in Roberts’ study, juveniles choose the music they like based on personal factors and moods. Most of the songs rappers make do not reflect their true lifestyle, but the image they have in media is what is famous and most of them just go with it. Rappers are not encouraging the youth to go out and do what they rap about, they are only expressing ideas and emotions. Mentioned early in this paper is a statement on retaliation or “payback”, the social learning theory plays a big part in that. It is called the “code of the street” where delinquency is justified if you are provoked or insulted and feel a need to protect your reputation against your peers. “Music preferences play an important role in early adolescent interactions with peers” (Selfhout, 96). In forming friendships, people are more attracted to those that share some common features with them. Selfhout states that “music preferences show visible cues…show more content…
In labeling theory, people categorize delinquents and stamp an image on them as being “bad” people. This label then “leads others to reject them and treat them in a harsh manner” (Agnew, 165). When juveniles are rejected, they experience strain because people do not want to “risk” giving them the opportunity to do anything wrong. They also have very little control because the label automatically inhibits their opportunities and limits or restricts the chances that people would give them had they not had a label attached to their image. Socially, labeled juveniles are boxed out and forced to associate with those in the same predicament which fosters social learning of more criminal activity that they use for coping, and they eventually give in to becoming whatever it is that they have been labeled as. Labeling in music would be the idea that only black people, thugs, and delinquent others listen to rap. It would also be the thought that because a juvenile listens to a certain artist, he is a “bad” individual who is likely to commit a certain crime. In addition to the adolescent listeners and supporters of rap, the artists are subject to labels because of what they talk about. These people are trapped in an image in the minds of others that is very resistant to change. These images are called stereotypes. In Johnson’s study of rap, it was discovered that “media and rap music can prime and

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