Transmission of subcultural norms
draws heavily on social learning theory, strain theory,
and theories regarding identity formation.
"In some insulated and deprived places, where long-term poverty, low labor force participation, outside-marriage childbearing, school drop-outs, welfare dependency, and other social problems prevail, deviant role models emerge and encourage health-destructive behaviors such as use of illegal drugs and violence" (Wilson 1987; Wilson 1996).
"The culture-of-poverty perspective postulates that
the poor who reside in areas plagued by poverty and social
problems, by virtue of their exclusion from the mainstream societies and social
isolation from positive role models, develop a lifestyle that is by nature different from
that of the middle-class societies in which they live and assumes a life of its
own and passed across generations through cultural transmission" (Steinberg
1989; Wilson 1987).
Subcultural Theory emerged from
the work of the Chicago School on gangs and developed
through the Symbolic Interactionism School into
a set of theories arguing that certain groups or subcultures in society have values and
attitudes that are conducive to crime and violence.
A subculture is a distinctive
culture within a culture, so its norms and values differ from the majority culture but do
not necessarily represent a culture deemed deviant by the majority. A subculture is
distinguished from a counterculture which operates in direct opposition to the majority
culture. Cultural Transmission Theory and Social
Disorganisation Theory posit that, in the poorest zones of a city, certain forms of
behaviour become the cultural norm transmitted from one generation to the next, as part of
the normal socialisation process. Successful criminals are role models for the young,
demonstrating both the possibilities of success through crime, and its normality.