Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Behavior, Criminal Justice, Deviance, Theory, Subculture, Culture, Development, Opportunity

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Published: 2020/10/13


Cloward and Ohlin

Cloward and Ohlin stated theories to explain the reason for some deviant behaviors that were criminal in nature. In explaining the reason for the behavior, they developed theoretic assumptions that received an equal measure of criticism because it was misunderstood. They pointed out three distinctive points; the criminal subculture, conflict subculture and that of retreating. In their view, resulting criminal behavior is not well established by finding out the origin of structurally induced stress. Motivations or pressure are not the only factors that will drive a person’s behavior into deviance. In the second theory, the opportunity theory, focuses more on the social structures and the reason people pursue one wayward path rather than the other. Deviant behavior tends to develop in the areas that have an illegitimate structure. Criminal behaviors are learned and undertaken because of the associations people have with others who exhibit values and skills. In relation to that, people from other areas with no criminal history or influence find it difficult to develop criminal behaviors despite their self-motivations. The theorists identified subculture conflicts in which there are different subcultures in existence with different opportunities and structures. Subcultural theory states that groups develop norms and values that differ from those held by other societal members. The structures differ in social class and status and the availability and access to material things. The differences are noted to bring about frustrations for the lack of access to the materials or fewer opportunities (Adler & Laufer, 2013).
According to the theories, criminal behavior and activities occur as a result of seeking the opportunity the other subculture accesses out of frustrations that consequently push the members of one less-opportune sub-culture. In the same manner, the criminal behavior becomes widespread when peers in one sub-culture involved in the deviant behavior learns or copies from other members of the culture. In certain locations, criminal activities were more delinquent, unlike other locations due to the different access and exposure to opportunities that arise from the sub-cultural structural differences.
According to Merton’s understanding, he identified the uniformity present in the social structures to pursue valued goals. He also pointed out that pressures for deviant behavior and actual deviant behavior are distinct. The sub-cultures identified have different structures with the social status being extra conspicuous. It is through this that different classes are formed, and that poses pressure to develop and actualize deviant behavior. Analyzing the differences in vulnerability for a particular criminal behavior, is explained by Cloward’s concept of differential access to the illegitimate opportunity structures.
According to Cohen, the frustrated population refers to those with limited or no access to certain opportunities present in a sub-culture. They tend to create their subculture and reject the values of mainstream society that becomes a routine to them. That can be explained and made clearer by Cloward and Ohlin’s perspective because the sub-cultural opportunity differences lead to the said frustrations. Consequently, as individuals develop deviant behaviors; it is assimilated in the group and develops into a habit or routine.
In Schmid’s theory, identity transformation in places where certain behaviors are associated makes it necessary for individuals to develop temporary identities. In his findings, before going to prison, individuals had little in common and in prison they struggle with individual values then adopt dual image and finally identify with the prison standard of behavior. Cloward and Ohlin’s theory can be used to explain this by identifying the subcultural differences in which the prisons change the behavior of individuals from different subcultures and in the end they exhibit a similar character. The influence of peers and the members of the subculture, which, in this case, is the prison, is evident. People eventually assimilate the behavior they find in prison.
Opportunity theory and Cohen’s theory can combine and give a clearer definition of deviant behavior out of a routine that is almost definite and can form a more firm ground to explain deviant behavior. The perspectives make it easier to understand the pressure or stress that is present in the subcultures. Also, in adopting the general behavior, Schmid’s theory can combine with opportunity theory to explain an individual or group deviance in behavior. That explains how the surrounding first converts someone from their personality automatically and makes them assume different personalities (Treviño, 2001).


Adler, F., & Laufer, W. S. (Eds.). (2013). The Criminology of Criminal Law (vol. 8). New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Miyazawa, K., & Miyazawa, S. (Eds.). (1995). Crime Prevention in the Urban Community. Cambridge, MA: Kluwer Law and Taxation Publishers.
Treviño, A. J. (2001). The Sociology of Law: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

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WePapers. (2020, October, 13) Opportunity Theory Essay. Retrieved August 20, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/
"Opportunity Theory Essay." WePapers, 13 Oct. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/. Accessed 20 August 2022.
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WePapers. Opportunity Theory Essay. [Internet]. October 2020. [Accessed August 20, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/
"Opportunity Theory Essay." WePapers, Oct 13, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/
WePapers. 2020. "Opportunity Theory Essay." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved August 20, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/).
"Opportunity Theory Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 13-Oct-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/. [Accessed: 20-Aug-2022].
Opportunity Theory Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/opportunity-theory-essay/. Published Oct 13, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2022.

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