Street Culture and Crime

Mark T. Berg and Eric A. Stewart

in The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747238
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Street Culture and Crime

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Many studies on criminology emphasize the role of cultural mechanisms—the symbolic, relational aspect of social organization—in the uneven representation of crime in society. While dimensions of social structure are also important in this literature, it differs from other criminological research because of the explanatory power granted to culture to account for the origin and scope of socially disapproved behaviors. Cultural explanations still permeate research on criminal behavior in the urban metropolis, but recent questions about the etiology of violence within this environment appear to have revived the cultural perspective, raising the possibility that behavior is shaped by culture. This article reviews criminological research that ascribes criminal behavior to the interaction between individuals and street culture. It examines the propositions derived from urban sociology and recent cognitive-based accounts, focusing on the theoretical and empirical research involving serious crime, particularly violent behavior among individuals living in urban areas.

Keywords: street culture; criminal behavior; violence; sociology; serious crime; social structure; urban areas

Article.  8388 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Theories of Crime

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