Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Subcultural the meaningful aspect - Jock Young

I've heard this word spoken by a scientist and I realized that he used the concept as something related to abnormal and I got a little amazed. So I googled "Subcultural" and found this article "Sub-cultural Theory: virtues and vices" by Jock Young, sociologist and criminologist:

The Meaning of Discontent: The Subjective and the Objective,
The Rational and the Irrational

"In subcultural theory deviant subcultures are viewed not as pathological groupings of maladjusted individuals who lack culture, but rather as meaningful attempts to solve problems faced by the individuals concerned. What it is juvenile vandalism or the latest teenage style, cultural responses are meaningful rather than meaningless. A whole series of terms have evolved which, rather than explaining deviant behaviour, in fact attempt to explain it away. Terms like mob, psychopath, undersocialized, hyper-active, primitive, animal, mindless (as in 'mindless' violence), immature, mad - all serve one purpose. They take the observer's values as obvious and 'normal' and they castigate other people's values as not meaningful alternatives but a lack of value, meaning and rationality. In contrast subcultural theory would argue that human behaviour is fundamentally meaningful and differences in behaviour represent the different problems and solutions to these problems which particular subcultures have evolved."
(emphasis mine)

"Subcultural theory attempts to place the behaviour of people in the context of the wider society. It does not explain human action in terms of the propensity of particular individuals (e.g. he is violent because he is a 'psychopath', she has a large number of sexual partners because she is a 'nymphomaniac', he is greedy because he is 'evil'). Rather it suggests that individuals can only be understood in terms of the subcultures of which they are a part. As an instance let us look at the explanation of the relatively high level of drug addiction amongst physicians:
(emphasis mine)

"Note that the physician addict, in contrast, say, to the street junkie, acts as an isolated individual, yet his or her response is explicable in terms of belonging to a medical subculture. Similarly, the isolated suburban housewife addicted to valium or experiencing persistent domestic violence may not know that their situation is comparatively common, yet will interpret what is happening to her from the perspective of the subculture of middle class femininity to which she belongs."(emphasis mine)

Jock Young was part of "The National Deviancy Symposium (or National Deviancy Conference) consisted of a group of British Criminologists dissatisfied with Orthodox British Criminology, many of them later involved with Critical criminology and/or Left realism."
(...)The group also tried to provide a financial support and a forum for campaign groups around criminal justice, such as "the gay, women's, mental patients' and prisoners' movements" such as Preservation of the Rights of Prisoners (PROP), Radical Alternatives to Prison (RAP) and People, not Psychiatry.*[6][7] Wikipedia.
* by Michael Barnett.


Herrad said...

Hi Ana,

Good post funny for me to suddenly see the name Jock Young.

He was my Criminolgy Professor at Middlesex University.


Ana said...

I didn't know of him till yesterday when I did this search.
I'm glad to find another thinker that is trying to explain this strange world.
There are few left and I fear that when they die we will have nobody to be at our side.
His work is very important.
Hope he is a good teacher.

Herrad said...

Hi Ana,

Jock is a good teacher his lectures and seminars were informative.


You might be interested in this blog, another of my lecturers is involved.


Ana said...

Thank you!
I didn't know he had a blog.
Teacher with blog is dangerous.
"Can you increase my grade, please?"