status frustration

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A concept developed by Albert Cohen in Delinquent Boys (1956), and used to explain working-class male delinquency as being a reaction formation towards middle-class values of success, as embodied in the school. Delinquent boys experience status frustration and invert the middle-class values of the school to create a delinquent subculture. Cohen's argument forms part of the anomie and strain traditions of delinquency and subcultural analysis.

Subjects: Sociology.

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