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Posted: January 25th, 2020

Criminality is a result of culture, according to cultural criminology

Criminality is a result of culture, according to cultural criminology. What kinds of cultural traditions are compatible with criminal behaviour?
Cultural criminology is a branch of criminology that examines the role of culture in shaping criminal behaviour and social reactions to crime. According to this perspective, criminality is not an inherent or fixed trait, but a product of cultural meanings, values and practices that vary across time and space.

Some examples of cultural traditions that are compatible with criminal behaviour are:

– Gang culture: Gangs are groups of people who share a common identity, often based on ethnicity, territory or criminal activity. Gangs may engage in violence, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion and other illegal activities to assert their power, protect their interests and challenge their rivals. Gang culture may also provide a sense of belonging, status and respect for its members, especially those who feel marginalized or excluded by mainstream society.

– Honour culture: Honour culture is a type of culture that values honour, reputation and pride above all else. Honour culture may foster a sense of loyalty, duty and courage among its adherents, but it may also lead to violent conflicts over perceived insults, slights or threats to one’s honour. Honour culture may also justify practices such as honour killings, blood feuds, duels and vendettas, which are considered criminal by modern legal standards.

– Subculture of resistance: Subculture of resistance is a term used to describe groups of people who oppose or resist the dominant culture and its norms, values and institutions. Subculture of resistance may adopt alternative lifestyles, ideologies and forms of expression that challenge the status quo and express their discontent or dissatisfaction with the existing social order. Subculture of resistance may also engage in acts of civil disobedience, protest, sabotage, vandalism or terrorism to voice their grievances or demand social change.

These are just some of the examples of cultural traditions that are compatible with criminal behaviour. However, it is important to note that not all members of these cultures are necessarily criminals, nor are all criminals motivated by cultural factors. Criminal behaviour is a complex phenomenon that results from the interaction of individual, social and environmental factors.


– Ferrell J and Sanders C (eds), Cultural Criminology (Routledge 1995).
– Hayward KJ and Young J (eds), Cultural Criminology: Theories of Crime (Routledge 2012).
– Presdee M (ed), Cultural Criminology Unleashed (Routledge 2004).
– Rothe DL and Kauzlarich D (eds), Towards a Victimology of State Crime (Routledge 2014).
– Young J, The Vertigo of Late Modernity (Sage 2007).

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