Southern Culture Of Violence Thesis

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This discussion will explore the implications of these findings and whether there is adequate support to suggest the existence of a subculture of violence.

In , Wolfgang and Ferracuti draw upon Wolfgang’s earlier work on inner-city African-American neighbourhoods in Philadelphia in order to formulate an operational definition of the concept of a subculture.

Possibly the most well-known theory in this genre of work, Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s attempted to outline a methodological framework for the empirical examination of violent subcultures.

Central to their discussion was the idea that higher rates of violence amongst lower-class and racialized populations could be explained by the fact that these groups have embraced values and norms that are more permissive of violence.

Though the subculture of violence thesis was originally devised to explain and examine high rates of violence amongst structurally marginalized populations and neighbourhoods, since then, this framework has been applied and evaluated in relation to a variety of other demographics and locales, such as the American South (Nisbett and Cohen, 1996; Hayes, 2005), athletes (Smith, 1979), middle schools and high schools within the United States and Iceland (Felson et al., 1994; Bernburg and Thorlindsson, 2005; Ousey and Wilcox, 2005).

In addition, many have also continued with Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s (1967) original focus and have attempted to determine the existence of a Black subculture of violence (Anderson, 1999; Stewart and Simons, 2006; Brezina et al., 2004; Cao et al., 1997).

It is believed that the observation of values will, in turn, provide insight into the group norms, since the latter sustains the former through rewarding conformity and penalizing non-conformity.

Thus, individual action, attitude and perception are considered to be the key to understanding the collective phenomena of culture.

century, when researchers attempted to look beyond biological and psychological explanations to understand crime.

The shift in understanding violence as a social phenomenon, rather than an individual one, emerged from observations that incidents of violence tend to not be evenly distributed within society.


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