A study of the extent and forms of school violence and delinquency: the dynamics of race, age, gender, social class, poverty and family

Annotated Bibliography

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2010

14 Pages, Grade: A


Annotative Bibliography

Agnew, Robert. “A Revised Strain Theory of Delinquency”, the University of North Carolina Press, Vol. 64. No. 1 (Sep. 1985) pp 151-167. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2578977.

Current Strain Theories argue that delinquency results from the blockage of goal seeking behaviour. The inability to achieve value goals results in the individual becoming frustrated and may turn to delinquency as a result. This paper also points to another source of frustration and delinquency- pain avoidance behaviour. The theory argued that adolescents are compelled to remain in certain environment, such as family and school. If these environments are painful there is little the adolescents can do to escape this situation. This can have a major impact on delinquency. The data was tested by a national sample of adolescent boys.

Critique of Strain theory includes the inability of adolescent to achieve certain goals. According to Cohen and Cloward (1964) the goal blockage is unlikely to lead to delinquency unless the adolescent form or join delinquent subcultures. Strain theory also believed that social classes cause delinquency but Braithwaite (1981) indicated that delinquency is quite common in the middle class and the relationship between class and delinquency is negligible. In conclusion the data have provided support for the idea that blockage of pain avoidance behaviour is a major source of delinquency. The revised Strain theory argues that a major negative effect/ relationship leads to delinquency, and frustration may lead to illegal escape attempts or anger based delinquency. Overall, this theory can influence my research because it explains delinquency among individuals overtime and between groups and the factors that condition the link between delinquencies.

Agnew, Robert. “Foundation for a General Strain Theory of Crime and Delinquency”, Criminology, 30: 1, (1992).

This paper presents a general Strain Theory of crime and delinquency that is capable of overcoming the criticisms of previous strain theory. Strain theory is distinguished from social control and differential association/ social learning theory. The three major types of strain theory was described which are the factors influencing the choice of delinquency and non delinquent adaptations. The paper argues that strain theory has a central role in explaining crime/delinquency but the theory has to be substantially revised. They explain delinquency in terms of individual’s social relationships- Social relationships that leads to delinquency. They focused on negative relationships with others, relationships which prevent the individual from achieving positive valued goals. Strain theory argues that adolescents are pressured into delinquency by the negative affective states most notable anger and related emotions that results from negative relations.

The major types of strain that influence delinquent behaviour include: strain as a failure to achieve positive valued goals, strain as the removal of positive valued stimuli from the individual and strain as the presentation of negative stimuli. The general strain theory build specifies the relationship between strain and delinquency, pointing out that strain is likely to have a cumulative effect on delinquency. However the theory did not concern itself with non-social determinants of strain such as illness. Strain theory may lead to low social control and with delinquent others. This theory influence my research because it is the only theory to focus explicitly on negative relations with others and to argue that delinquency results from the negative affect caused by such relations.

(From: Sharp, Paul M., Barry W. Hancock. “Juvenile delinquency: historical, Theoretical, and Societal reactions to Youth. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, (1995).

Bishop, Donna M, Donald Shoemaker “Theories of delinquency: An examination of explanations of delinquent Behaviour”, The Journal of criminology, Vol. 76. No.1 (spring 1985) pp 273-276, New York; Oxford University Press.

In theories of delinquency, the authors examine and devaluates theories of delinquency causation. Their purpose was to explain existing theories in a consistent, organized manner, identifying points of convergence and complementing others. Shoemaker introduce the concept of causality which include the control theories, labelling theory, radical theory, biological and biosocial theories, psychological explanations, social disorganisation and anomie, lower-class-based theories, interpersonal and situational explanations. In each theory the authors traces the development of the perspective and briefly identifies basic assumptions and key concepts. They also discuss research validity and conclude with the strengths and limitations of each. Additional sections deal with females and middle class delinquency. However the author fails to discuss deterrence theory to social learning model. In the same way, several theories were misleading and statements of errors were made. Shoemaker argued that personality of the delinquent is not only immature but simultaneously aggressive, passive and neurotic. He claim that the school failure which leads to delinquency which alleviates the status of frustration. Shoemaker confuses concepts referring to lack of attachment to conventional beliefs.

In his summary, its consists of a rather superficial assessment of the limitations and strengths of each perspective, despite the fact that some theories are lacking in both logical and empirical adequacy The authors suggest that each has something to contribute to an understanding of delinquency; and that any theory of delinquency that incorporates the learning and appreciation of social rules is worthy of consideration in the investigation of delinquency. They concluded with a recommendation stating that ‘what is needed in delinquency theory and research is la better understanding of how delinquency develops and is either maintained or discontinued. Apart from much criticism this study influence my research because each theory examined here gives explanations of juvenile delinquency and each explanation seems to focus on a different aspect of the same problem.

Blue, John T. “The relationship of Juvenile Delinquency, Race and Economic Status”, he Journal of Negro education, Vol. 17, No. 4 (autumn, 1984) pp 469-477.


It was stated most commonly that the relationship to delinquency is that non-white children have a greater propensity for delinquency. The author stated that particularistic explanations of delinquency have been refuted; only the naïve persist in offering single cause explanations. The causal factors of delinquency in this particular study looked at race and economic status because data are lacking for others. The author look at each individual relationship (race and economic status) seeking the relationship of these two factors to delinquency. The definitions involved in this study pose many problems. The term juvenile delinquency according to Blue includes all persons below the age of discretion who have committed violations of the legal codes, or whose behaviour deviates from the norms of the moral code. This definition includes all children since most children learnt parts of moral codes by trial and error and they are not all delinquents. He states that the concept of Juvenile delinquency is too broad.

The hypothesis of this study states that economic status is more closely related to Juvenile delinquency than race. He states that race and economic status are regarded as having a causal connection to Juvenile delinquency particularly economic status. He posits that race is a status category and thus each person has two status which affects his adjustment- race and economic status. He argued that race determines economic status and thus affects delinquency rates. Thus race undoubtedly has some direct connections with delinquency through the effects of cultural conflict and inters racial conflict. The evidence resulting from the study indicates that for delinquency, race and economic status using respectively indicated that delinquency rates occupied non-white persons and on average economic status is more closely related than race to Juvenile delinquency. Some limitations of the study include that these two factors do not account for a considerable amount of delinquency cannot be explain by only race and economic status but other factors as well. The background of this study on the subject of economic status and race will be useful to my research project.

Boehnke, Klaus, Dagmar Bergs- Winkles. “Juvenile Delinquency under Conditions of Rapid Social Change”, Sociological forum, Vol. 17, No 1(March 2002) pp 57-79. Published by Springer. http://www.jstor.org/stable/685087.

An increase in Juvenile delinquency is seen by these authors as an indicator for a deterioring social fabric under conditions of rapid social change. Criminological theories suggest that such conditions may produce delinquency and force youths into prodelinquent leisure activities, with peers leading to an endorsement of delinquent behaviour. Resources acquired in family and public life may prevent youths indirectly from delinquent behaviour. Empirical tests were made and analysed by the authors through societal level and individual level data. Their analyses showed that delinquent drift is a valid predictor of deviant school behaviour only on the individual level. The extent to adolescent engage in prodelinquent peer activities depends on the cultural context in which adolescents live on their personal experience in the family and the public. Boehnke argues that nuturant parenting covary negatively with delinquent school behaviour. They focus on two broad approaches to explain crime and delinquency on sub cultural and subterranean processes in society. The first approach assumes the existence of oppositional groups in society and the second approach assumes that adolescents act out subterranean values or impulses that are an accepted part of culture.

The authors argue that rapid social change increases juvenile delinquency which was drawn for the two approaches. This change causes individual to feel injustice which leads them to hostile counter culture acts of delinquency. The authors also stress that rapid social change induces decrease parental control and nurturance, favouring adolescent delinquency and maladjustment. The study shows how it is important to disentangle societal level and individual level evidence. The authors argue that the role of social change plays of delinquency remains some what unclear but the social change indicator to deviant school behaviour emerged significantly, however the relationship that was hypothesised was indirect. The more negative change condition co varied with, the more justice and parental caring, which lead to less delinquent drift. Further research is needed in the cultural climate to make the link between adolescents delinquent drift. This study broadens my understanding with the issue of delinquency under rapid social change.

Brown, Stephen E, and Larry J. Siegel et al. “Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law, MN: West Publishing Company, (1981 pp. 542).

This work is commendable for integrating theory, practice and law as they relate to the social problems of juvenile delinquency. The work also presents leading theories of delinquency and descriptive information concerning the operations of the juvenile justice systems. The concept of delinquency is address by the authors in interdisciplinary terms. This examination is done thorough an examination of social class, race and sex of delinquent behaviour. These factors have been further discussed under the umbrella of individualistic theories, all interconnected by the common element that the personal characteristics and attributes of the individuals cause their delinquent behaviour. It also examines theories that related to delinquent behaviour to the social environment, these include social structure theories, theories of social process, containment theory and social reaction theory. Labelling theory and conflict perspectives are also provided. Brown also did an analysis on female delinquency.


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A study of the extent and forms of school violence and delinquency: the dynamics of race, age, gender, social class, poverty and family
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The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
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BSc, MSc Stacy Ramdhan (Author), 2010, A study of the extent and forms of school violence and delinquency: the dynamics of race, age, gender, social class, poverty and family, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/175790


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