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Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

7. Urban criminal collaborations  

Alistair Fraser and Dick Hobbs

This chapter examines a range of criminological classifications for urban criminal groups, covering both youthful and adult-oriented collaborations. The chapter provides a critical overview of the following categorizations: gangs; subcultures; professional crime; the underworld; and organized crime. Debates relating to each are introduced. While criminological approaches to youthful groups have a clear history, from the ‘Chicago School’ to the ‘Birmingham School’, perspectives on adult groups are less solid and more interdisciplinary. In both cases, the chapter argues that criminological classifications have struggled to capture the complexities brought on by the changing nature of the urban political economy. The chapter concludes by introducing a critical perspective that problematizes criminological categorizations of urban criminal collaborations.

Chapter

Cover Understanding Deviance

6. Culture and Subculture  

This chapter examines the cultural and subcultural theories of crime and delinquency, beginning with Albert Cohen’s 1955 analysis of ‘subculture’ in relation to delinquent behaviour by gangs and how his approach to subculture as a ‘way of life’ evolved to resolve problems facing lower-class youth in a highly competitive society. It then looks at the work of other scholars who challenged Cohen’s theory but retained much of his analytic framework, including Richard Cloward, Lloyd Ohlin, and David Matza. In particular, it discusses various theoretical perspectives linking culture and subculture to delinquency, from strain theories to Matza’s drift theory, labelling theory, and culture conflict theories. It also explores the relationship between crime and the labour market, particularly unemployment. The chapter concludes by reviewing the criticisms against subcultural theory.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

26. Urban criminal collaborations  

Alistair Fraser and Dick Hobbs

This chapter examines a range of criminological classifications for urban criminal groups, covering both youthful and adult-oriented collaborations. The chapter provides a critical overview of the following categorizations: gangs; subcultures; neighbourhood crime groups; professional crime; the underworld; and organized crime. Debates relating to each are introduced. While criminological approaches to youthful groups have a clear history, from the ‘Chicago School’ to the ‘Birmingham School’, perspectives on adult groups are less solid and more interdisciplinary. In both cases, the chapter argues that criminological classifications have struggled to capture the complexities brought on by the changing nature of the urban political economy. The chapter concludes by introducing a critical perspective that problematizes criminological categorizations of urban criminal collaborations.