Cultural Theories

Thomas Holt

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:
Cultural Theories

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Cultural theories of crime provide distinct frameworks to understand the influence of human agency, social forces, and peers on behavior. The dominant frameworks argue that culture is a set of values, beliefs, and actions that are learned through interactions with others. From this perspective, culture is primarily transmitted to individuals through intimate peer groups and across generations to provide support or encouragement for actions that may be unacceptable in the larger society. In addition, cultural forces demonstrate what behaviors are valued and those that are perceived as unimportant or not supported. Subcultures may form in opposition to the dominant culture and support behaviors that deviate from larger social norms, or stem from differences between social classes, gender, or geographic locations. In some perspectives, the dominant culture may define the behaviors of another culture as criminal or deviant in order to protect their interests or marginalize a minority group. Thus, culture conflicts can lead to the identification or creation of criminal groups. Finally, societal responses to the media can foster the belief that a deviant behavior is rampant and force legislative action to identify and define an act as criminal. Regardless of the accuracy of media claims, larger cultural forces can stimulate the belief that criminal or deviant activities are a threat to safety. Thus, cultural theories encompass a broad spectrum of thought about crime and criminality.

Article.  5729 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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