Delinquent Youth Subculture Research Paper

Delinquent Youth Subculture — Gangs

Gang and group aggression, while not a new development in Canada and U.S., is becoming much more difficult to just look the other way as just boys being boys. However, boys are not alone, girls are apparently becoming more involved in this subculture of gang violence, but the hostility of both gender appear to be becoming more erratic, more vicious, and more dangerous. While many academics will argue that violence among youth is on the rise, there are not many dispute the fact that gang membership importantly enlarges the occurrence and distribution of brutal and violent crime amongst both genders. The purpose of this paper is to deliberate at length one of the most important characteristics of the delinquent youth subculture movement, and that is the use of, occurrence, theoretical and criminal subgroups.

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Definitions of a Gang

Are crowds of kids who remain on a street corner or at a shopping center a gang? Are groups who find themselves into isolated fistfights gangs? Are a bunch of teenagers who steal or vandalize a gang? If a cluster of adolescence uses a gun once, is it a gang? If a group uses bats and sticks but not guns or knives, is it a gang? A lot of people squabble over rather or not a group is eager to use enough intensity to murder others, whether in defense or aggression, then it should be thought of as a gang (Hagedorn, J.M. 1999). While others may reason that violence does not have to be a feature for a group to be deemed a gang (some police forces describe a gang as a group of three or more persons who develop an alliance for the intention of involving in criminal activity) the difference between a ‘group’ and a ‘gang’ should not be even an issue. As Delmont (2009) clarifies the term gang can be a misinforming process of defining various types of get-togethers of young people. The term gang is desired as an enhanced way of seizing the event; and psychiatrists and policy-makers should be thinking in conditions of a continuum extending from a group of friends who spend time collectively and sporadically get into trouble to more dangerous, organized criminal groups or gangs.

Origin and History

Ever since the start of time, youth gangs or groups have been in existence. These groups have had a lot of unhealthy impressions on society for several years. These adolescence groups or gangs, as they are usually called, have contributed in many unethical and unlawful deeds that have afflicted mankind. Several of the earliest activities of gangs go all the way back to the fourteenth and fifteenth century in Europe. A number of the activities that these youths had been chronicled as participating in have been burglary, robbery, coercion, and rape (Delmont, M. 2009). During the same time in London, a lot of the names these gangs went by were the, Hectors, Bugle, Dead Boys and Mims. These gangs did various kinds of vandalism to cities. Throughout the middle ages in France, there were groups that began fights with other cliques that came from other places. In Germany, all through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, gangs were a function of the society.

Gangs did not happen to have dispersed to the United States until the early 1800’s. Numerous immigrants from Europe migrated to the United States, mainly the east coast; in determination of life that was much better than there previous state. After they arrived in the United States, the money that a lot of the Europeans had quickly became exhausted. A lot of these immigrants had to get out loans with local merchants just so they could survive. Bearing in that many of these immigrants had little to no money at all, these people also had very small fortune for any health care of any kind. Many people died because of famine and poverty from all over. Parents could not even take care of the children. It was very normal to see children drifting the streets looking of food, shelter, and clothing. These young people that wandered the streets were mostly in the New England regions like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Numerous gangs that are in continuation today were shaped in the course of the civil rights crusade during the 1960’s. Throughout the early nineteenth century, gangs were largely put together of Irish, Italian, and Jewish people. Nowadays, these groups are comprised of variety of ethnic groups which involve African-American, Hispanic, White, and people from Asia (Barakett, J., & Leonard, J. 1999). Gangs are currently less worried with having power over the rights of terrain and are more concerned with drug trafficking. Gangs today seek more business like opportunities. All through the early part of the nation, limitless if not all of the gangs were made up of teenagers. These days the gangs are made up of old and young. As technology has been on the rise, so has the apprehension of gangs. Gangs now have simpler access to firearms and drugs and are more of a hazard and a threat to the community then they once were.

Criminal and Delinquent Subcultures

A subculture is a descendant of something, but not the same from, certain bigger referential society. The word is utilized insecurely to denote communal agreements of standards, ethics, or benefits that put aside some persons, crowds, or additional association of individuals from greater institutes and from wider ethnic structures. Familiar samples comprise of youth subcultures, local subcultures, ethnic subcultures and subcultures linked with particular activities, and subgroups that foster amid individuals who communicate special meanings such as, those that collect stamps, a criminal bird-watching or criminal behavior adaptation.

While criminal subgroups characteristically are correlated with an extensive range of unlawful behaviors, among criminal groups and subcultures there is innumerable dissimilarity in the character and power of group norms, standards, and advantages. Furthermore, the degree to which negligent behavior is attributable to these issues is challenging. Much negligent conduct of extremely delinquent gangs, for instance, outcomes from the procedure of group procedures instead of group customs as such (Wesley, J.M. (2010). The normative possessions of groups differ significantly, but sometimes the most aberrant gang dedicates comparatively a small part of group life to the interest of actions that are delinquent. Extra, when these youths contribute in delinquent incidents, some associates of the gang normally do not participate. This is because subcultures naturally contain of sets of instructions that are normative — instructions and systems linked to a mutual worth (Ha, J.S., & Park, J. 2011) — instead of norms placed around a solitary importance (like being “macho,” “cool,” or remarkably talented in some way). Moreover, persons who are related with a specific subgroup usually are linked with other subcultures. Merely being connected with a subculture therefore is improbable to be a good forecaster of the conduct of a certain individual.

Theory and Research

Psychological Theories of Delinquency

Psychology of the mind theory suggests that the lawbreakers percentages of receptive thinking as opposed to conditioned thinking is that of which controls his or her level of mental health as well as their jeopardy for law-breaking or delinquency (Alvarez, A., & Bachman, R. 1997). According to the Psychology of Mind theory, adolescent’s actions are founded off of how aware they are of what they do or say. If a juvenile discovers them self in a condition and takes the time to deliberately think about their actions, they usually act in a certain way. It is when a juvenile is in a condition where they act devoid of thinking about the results where a thoughtful decision could be made.

Kelley states that a youth’s level of insecurity straightforwardly relates to their design of how they think. If a wrongdoer feels insecure in a state and thinks reactively, they are more likely to contemplate reactively and involve in deviant or delinquent conduct. Whereas if an criminal feels unconfident in a situation and thinks instinctively, they will be less probable to participate in delinquent behavior. Kelley points to the fact that a teenager or youth with a self-esteem that is high will be a lot less likely to a bad decision than one with a small level of self-worth based. This is based on the statistic that one who has a higher level of self-esteem logically wants to uphold that higher level of self-assurance and will be less likely to participate in an act to endanger that level of self-worth. Whereas one with a lower area of self-confidence may be willing to commend a delinquent act to increase their self-confidence (1996).

Differential-association theory

Edwin Sutherland invented the expression differential suggestion to speak to the concern the way people perceive nonconformity. According to this philosophy, the setting plays a chief part in choosing which standards people discover to disrupt. Purposely, individuals surrounded by a specific group deliver norms of traditionalism and deviance, and consequently deeply influence the method other persons observe the world, comprising how they respond. Individuals usually discover their norms from numerous mingling agent such as teacher, parents, ministers, friends, family, co-workers, and including mass media. In brief, youths discover illegal conduct, like different actions, from their connections with other youths, chiefly in groups that are close.

The differential-association theory relates to numerous forms of actions that are different. For instance, gangs that are juvenile set an atmosphere in which youths discover a life of being a criminal offender. These gangs describe themselves as countercultural and worship aggression, vengeance, and corruption as a way to achieving social position. Those in gangs discover to be irregular as they try to hold on to their gang’s customs and dangerous way of life.

Differential-association theory has donated to the area of criminology in its emphasis on the developing character of misbehavior. People get deviance from their peers and those that they socialize with. Critics of the differential-association theory, in contrast, claim the haziness of the theory’s vocabulary does not loan itself to the area of social science examination approaches or empirical authentication.

Society’s Response

Societies all over have issues with gang aggression. John E. Douglas, who is a Criminologist and crime writer talked about how the spread of street gangs in the U.S. And the hostility related with them is troubling. He stated that gangs have an existence in 93% of most of the cities in the United States with populations bigger than 100,000 (Delmont, M. 2009)). An amount of investigations have been managed allocating with gang violence all over the world. There are many existing efforts and propositions for future alterations to resolve the issue of gang hostility. In the city of Austin, which is located in Texas, a Parks and recreation manager came up with an institution called the “Get Real” program. This institution is still on small level, but it has encouragingly had an affect on the lives of a many youths. The inventiveness provides funds for youth that have left the right path and fallen on the wrong one. To be able to keep the youth off the streets, arranged activities are put together (Wesley, J.M. 2010)). The “CRASH” (Community Resources against Hoodlums) is another program that has huge influences on troubled youths. The program gives mediators to be on the streets with the gang members. The new members were then adept to intermingle with the previous associates of the gang. The program was fruitful in comprising outbreaks that are violent.

Parents give an influential place when it comes to stopping their children from participating in gang activity. Parental teaching segments, materials, and developments of training should be willingly obtainable in education to teach constructive, and actual parenting. The parenting abilities are normally helpful, and they should distribute care and be knowledgeable. Reid Patterson of the Journal of Behavioral Disorders, declares that parental should put into operation dependable and fair correction, they should be cautious supervising activities, hold family management methods, immersed in their child’s daily life, and talking to their kids everyday about their experiences and teach techniques that are problem solving. Merrill Singer, a criminologist, believes that the parents need to attempt and decrease and get rid of as many harmful factors as they can. The community must recommit to make sure their kids are raised safe. Thousands are in crisis because of stressors from poverty and having no jobs. This is developing in a productive breed position for behavior that is anti-social (Ha, J.S., & Park, J. 2011).


Since they both result in social modification and adjust to it, subgroups — comprising of unlawful and criminal subgroups — persist to be significant hypothetically, empirically, and realistically (that is, as a subject of a strategy that is social). Robert Sampson and his collaborators (1997) get that eagerness to interfere on behalf of the common good, together with collective efficacy, is related with lower rates of violent crime in Chicago neighborhoods. This proposes that emerging means to inspire recognition of the society with each other and heartening them to assist each other in their mutual interests will improve community power and help deteriorate the encouragement of subgroups that inspire illegal and criminal actions.


Urban violence and street gangs. (2003). Annual Review of Anthropology, 32(00846570), 225-225-242.

Alvarez, A., & Bachman, R. (1997). Predicting the fear of assault at school and while going to and from school in an adolescent population. Violence and Victims, 12(1), 69-69-86. Retrieved from

Barakett, J., & Leonard, J. (1999). Resisting youth subcultures: Classroom practice and critical pedagogy. Transformations, 10(2), 85-85.

Clark, C.M. (1992). Deviant adolescent subcultures: Assessment strategies and clinical interventions. Adolescence, 27(106), 283-283-93.

Delmont, M. (2009). Youth of color and the city. American Quarterly, 61(4), 955-955-965,997.

Edwards, A.S. (1956). Review of delinquent boys: The culture of the gang. Journal of Educational Psychology, 47(6), 382-382-383. doi:10.1037/h0039778

Escobar, C. (2007). La sierra. The Americas, 63(3), 510-510-511. Retrieved from

Ha, J.S., & Park, J. (2011). Significance of changing korean youth subculture styles. Asian Culture and History, 3(1), 23-23-30.

Hagedorn, J.M. (1999). Gangs and youth subcultures: International explorations. Contemporary Sociology, 28(5), 609-609-611.

Mooney, K. (1998). ‘Ducktails, flick-knives and pugnacity’: Subcultural and hegemonic masculinities in south africa, 1948-1960. Journal of Southern African Studies, 24(4), 753-753-774.

Schmid, C. (1995). Soiled identities: Anti-foreigner political violence, structural location and social action in contemporary germany. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 20(2), 227-227-244.

Wesley, J.M. (2010). Mean streets: Chicago youths and the everyday struggle for empowerment in the multiracial city, 1908-1969. The Journal of African-American History, 95(3), 451-451-453.

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