This discussion will explore the implications of these findings and whether there is adequate support to suggest the existence of a subculture of violence.
In , Wolfgang and Ferracuti draw upon Wolfgang’s earlier work on inner-city African-American neighbourhoods in Philadelphia in order to formulate an operational definition of the concept of a subculture.
This theorization assumes the existence of distinct subcultural, pro-violent values that develop in opposition to dominant or middle-class norms and values.
This literature review will provide a detailed discussion of the subculture of violence thesis and trace its development from the work of Wolfgang and Ferracuti (1967) to its more current applications.
Rather, rates of crime and violence vary spatially and demographically.
The endeavour to understand these patterns has generated a range of theories that highlight various social processes, including how crime is learned and taught and how it emerges from social inequalities.century, when researchers attempted to look beyond biological and psychological explanations to understand crime.The shift in understanding violence as a social phenomenon, rather than an individual one, emerged from observations that incidents of violence tend to not be evenly distributed within society.Possibly the most well-known theory in this genre of work, Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s attempted to outline a methodological framework for the empirical examination of violent subcultures.Central to their discussion was the idea that higher rates of violence amongst lower-class and racialized populations could be explained by the fact that these groups have embraced values and norms that are more permissive of violence.In addition, Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s assertions have been widely criticized for perpetuating stereotypes of young African-American males, for failing to consider the emergence of subcultures of violence, and for their theoretical negligence of social structural factors in their discussions of root causes of violence (Convington, 2003; Surratt et al., 2004).Many of the studies that have evaluated the subculture of violence thesis do not test it in its entirety.Amongst these various explanations, few have been as durable as the explanation of culture.Cultural explanations for violence first emerged in the works of American delinquency theorists in the 1930s who were attempting to account for the concentrations of crime and violence in poor, urban African-American neighbourhoods in the 1930s.Over the past three decades, the subculture of violence thesis has undergone considerable scrutiny, given that Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s claims at the time they were writing were, for the most part, unsubstantiated.Those who have undertaken evaluations of this framework have pointed out the tautological or circular reasoning that underlies the assumed link between violent values and violent actions and the importance of analyzing individual data on values in order to asses the validity of this thesis (Erlanger, 1974; Kornhauser, 1978).