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Cultural Deviance

Research papers report of a social structure theory explaining poverty and crime called cultural deviance theory.  Combining social disorganization and strain theories, cultural deviance theory suggests that the lower class culture has its own set of goals and values, and that these differ from those of other groups.  Cultural deviance theory is supposedly evidenced by the existence of subcultures within lower class groups.  Conformity to the specific goals and values of the underclass may even result in a transmission of criminal behavior from one generation to the next.

Cultural Deviance

It would appear that cultural deviance theory would support a relationship between homicide and unemployment.  Of course, individuals who are normally considered middle-class or upper-class may certainly experience periods of unemployment.  Their experiences, then, may not reflect long periods of poverty.  It is uncertain whether temporary unemployment of such individuals would increase the probability that they would commit crimes, particularly murder.  Given that these individuals might still have access to resources that normally would not be available to lower-class individuals, behaviors and choices might differ considerably.

Cultural deviance theories have their origins in the conflict perspective, which views conflict as a normal condition of society.  In this case, crime is conceptualized as the result of class conflict.  Laws are created by those in power in order to maintain their rights, interests, and dominance.  This would imply that all laws have political motives.

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