Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

working class’

SocioPsychological Factors in Crime #2

PART 2 Lower Class and Marxist Sub-Cultures Much research indicates there is a relationship between being in the lower classes and crime. Merton explores the relationship between poverty, consumerism and crime in Strain Theory. Daly & Wilson prefer to focus on the limited opportunities and limited life expectancy. Both locate their theories in lower class sub-cultures. Another lower-class sub-culture theorist is Albert Cohen (1955). Influenced both by Merton and the ethnographic ideas of the Chicago School of Sociology. he was especially interested in the fact that much offending behaviour was being simply done for the ‘thrill of the act’, rather than from economic motivations. (This is still evidenced today as, according to the Office of National Statistics (2020),  around a million offences of this type were committed in 2018-2019. Cohen does not share Merton’s emphasis on economic motivation and materialistic gain. Rather he sees deviance and crime as expressive.) According to Cohen, lower class boys strive to emulate middle class values and aspirations but lack the means to achieve success – leading to ‘status frustration’. Consequently these boys end up rejecting middle class values. Cohen (p119): “The delinquent sub-culture offers him status as against other children of whatever social level, but… Read More

Glossary M

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z McDonaldisation: George Ritzer (1993) argues that the fast food restaurant is the ultimate model of rationalisation, based on 4 key elements:- Efficiency – economies of scale, assembly line production of food and limited menus cut costs and facilitate the fast processing of customers Calculability – every aspect of the food production and consumption is measured and evaluated on the basis of rational calculation Predictability – Ritzer states “in a rational society people prefer to know what to expect in all settings at all times”. So customers should be able to enter a McDonald’s anywhere in the world and have exactly the same experience. Control – through training, supervision and technology, McDonald’s exercise rigid control of their employees and the food production process. There is even a degree of control of the customers, with hard seats, bright lights and, in some cases, security guards to make customers behave themselves and do not linger over their meal Ritzer and later commentators such as Soumyaditya Dasgupta (2015) see McDonaldization is a by-product of ‘Americanization’ or ‘Westernization’ which… Read More

Glossary C

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z CAPI: As part of his Organisation LifeCycle concept, Ichak Adizes (1987) developed the concept of Coalescing the Authority to make decisions and the Power to implement decisions by those who know how to Influence/Integrate. Don Beck (2000a) has promoted CAPI of the stakeholders as a vital step in structuring any form of MeshWORK. Capitalism: a form of economic organisation in which the means of production are privately owned and controlled. Making profit from the use of capital is the prime objective. In theory those employed by the Capitalists benefit from the wages they are paid for their labour – though, as labour is often a principal – if not the principal cost – to maximise profit, the Capitalists have to keep wages as low as possible. They also have to sell what is made by the workers for the highest price the market will bear. Supporters of Capitalism tend to claim that the profit motive has lead to many countries – Western countries especially  – enjoying affluent lifestyles. Critics attack its reduction of all relationships… Read More

Underclass: the Excreta of Capitalism

Updated: 15 September 2016 Though records indicate there have always been a small minority of criminals and ‘wastrels’ who formed an ‘underclass’ at the bottom of whatever social stratification any society had at whatever stage in its history, it was Charles Murray (1989) who first identified this social class as an emerging and important factor in contemporary British society. Murray says of the term: “By ‘underclass’, I do not mean people who are merely poor, but people who are at the margins of society, unsocialised and often violent. The chronic criminal is part of the underclass, especially the violent chronic criminal. But so are parents who mean well but who cannot provide for themselves, who give nothing back to the neighbourhood, and whose children are the despair of the teachers who have to deal with them…. When I use the term ‘underclass’ I am indeed focusing on a certain type of poor person defined not by his condition – eg: long term unemployed – but by his deplorable behaviour in response to that condition – eg: unwilling to take jobs that are available to him.” Those long-term unemployed who fraudulently claim benefits while doing ‘black market’ jobs, the addict who deals… Read More

What makes People vote Republican?

by Jonathan Haidt September 2008 annotated by Bruce L Gibb, September 2008 [Reference update: April 2009] Jonathan Haidt is associate professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and author of ‘The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom’ (2005) . He wrote this piece for Bruce L Gibb is an organisational psychologist in private practice in Ann Arbor and an adjunct professor in the School of Natural Resources & the Environment at the University of Michigan. He is also a frequent contributor to the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. While a commentary on the current American presidential election is clearly highly topical and would normally be more appropriate for the Blog, what gives this piece a more permanent currency is Bruce’s Spiral Dynamics-based annotation. Haidt’s article read together with Gibb’s footnotes provides an excellent and more generalised explanation for the points I raised in the September 2008 Blog: Should the Democrats have chosen Hilary? Jonathan has kindly given explicit written permission for his work to be used in this way. What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?… Read More

SocioPsychological Factors in Crime

Relaunched: 8 July 2020 While, clearly there a number of biological factors which can substantially increase the likelihood of someone committing crime and deviance, most crimes take place in a social setting and result from an interaction between the offender’s state of mind and the social pressures of the situation – including victims of the crime(s). So what are the social and psychological factors that may precipitate deviant and/or criminal actions…? Social Inequalities The world is plagued with huge gaps in social equality, with inequality having increased substantially in the West over the past 40 years. particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett (2010) identified that happiness and well-being are generally much greater in countries where the gaps in the ranges of social equality are relatively small – eg: Sweden – compared to countries with large gaps such as the US. In Western societies the more consumerism there is, the more people are either ‘seduced’ or ‘repressed, to use Zygmunt Bauman’s (1988) concepts. The ‘seduced’ are those who are sucked into consumerism and are seduced into buying many things they don’t need but are persuaded will be life enhancing if acquired. In many ways,… Read More


Updated: 5 December 2020 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020    2021-2023 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network A middle class boy, born to parents from the upper working classes who had worked their way up into the lower professional grades, I was privileged to have parents who both cared for me and drove me – especially my father. My parents – like most! – had many faults and left me with more than a few issues – see: The Counsellor gets counselled! Yet overall they gave me a good start in life, pushing me through the 11-Plus and the grammar school system to do what had been almost impossible for upper working class teenagers of their generation: to go to university. I was raised mostly in the Lancashire (now Merseyside) town of St Helens…but the bulk of my family were in nearby Liverpool. And Liverpool, in the early-mid 1960s was the epicentre of the musical and social revolution that began with The Beatles and expanded through ‘Merseybeat’. A tremendously exciting… Read More