Youth, Crime and Subculture

It is generally agreed today that the problem of youth, crime and subculture is widely discussed either in sociology, ethnography and other sciences. The reason is that they are closely connected and depend on each other. Why social scientists try to see the question from all the sides?

To answer the question “Why are sociology works so closely connected with ethnography’s research in studying youth, crime and subculture?” we have to remind that ethnography is a powerful sociological method. It gives us knowledge of how people live in particular places and focuses on what changes are producing in people’s perception of the world with everyday interactions or places and activities. Scientists often use ethnography methods to get in-depth understanding of young people’s problems. They can use qualitative interviews with youth to realize as Brown (2005) writes: “what is the nature of crime committed by young people, how do they construct individuals and why they are engaged in this or that story”.

Depending on where people live, one of the most striking features of this problem is that subcultures, drugs and crime are in touch. It is true that the majority of young people who were involved in a criminal activity participated in groups. Subcultures are created by the number of these groups. People who are in these contacts are influenced by subcultures and even can be lead to illegal behavior.  The practice shows the dynamics behind young people to participate in crime and use drugs and alcohol. So one cannot deny that only with all-round knowledge the government will be able to reduce the rate of crime and narcomania among youth in the country.

Many scientists have examined the link between criminal activity and subculture groups. It has been established that nearly two-thirds and three quarters of all minor crimes were made by the members of different groups.  Young people are usually involved in robbery, theft and rape. Muncie (2009) states: “In 2010/11, 60% of adults believed that crime in England and Wales had risen in the past two years”.

As Cloward and Ohlin noted “The first is criminal subculture - this tends to develop in areas where an illegitimate opportunity structure is present”. It is true, because there are different subcultures and not all are bad. The problem is that young people who usually have conflicts with adults try to show their individuality and they are usually involved in the structures that can hardly be called the normal one. These are the subcultures with their own perception of life and behavior that go on different roads according to the moral duties of people. Some use the clean minds of children to fill their heads with false information favourable by these people. These can be drug dealers, etc.

Of course in those areas where such structures are widely spread the number of illegal subcultures increases from year to year.

The question is - Who is guilty in that fact and what can we do to correct this situation? What system must we have for solving a problem? Sociology tries to give the answers to those questions.

Let us start by considering the Brown (2005) critical point of view. He insists that it does not matter what methods we are using the adult world can solve the problems of the youth world without drawing them into general existence. 

Sociology uses ethnography methodology trying to get the understanding of many factors that influence consciousness formation of youth. These are inner environment and an external world with which the person faces. Bradley and Hoof (2005) show how powerful the society’s and the media’s sphere’s interpretation of any phenomenon is on our awareness.

As Joe Yates (2010) has noted, kids who come to the attention of criminal justice organizations are “disproportionately drawn from working class backgrounds with biographies replete with examples of … vulnerability”.

So, it is clear now that the behavior of young people is predetermined by the factors that are not in their power to change. There should be different purposeful actions of the government in order to improve the vital standards and prevent criminality maintenance in the country. Various types of the research in social and other science areas can be useful in seeing the true picture.

A person was not born bad, he/she becomes bad for various reasons. If to popularize sports and arts, it will gradually support subcultures to force out illegal ones. Social work is to be done in all these spheres of life and it is well done only after a good exploration which goes in touch with ethnography. 

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