Subcultural Influences on Deviant Behavior: Oppositional and Suberranean Values

Mark A. Konty, University of Arizona

Cultural deviance theories once held a promising place in the criminological enterprise. The empirical validity of cultural deviance theories, however, was undermined by a paucity of evidence. While many observational studies posited a direct connection between membership in a deviant subculture and deviant behavior, no quantitative evidence could be mustered. Statistical and methodological advances now allow researchers to measure cultural effects with more precision. Values, the criteria people use in making evaluations, is one cultural input that is said to direct behavior. Modern advances in measuring values now give researchers a sharper tool for tackling the presumed associations between values and deviant behavior. This paper employs two recent methodological advances in the measurement of values-the Schwartz Values Survey and the factorial survey method-and relates these measures to self-report measures of delinquency. The general hypothesis is that among college students there exist subcultures, identified by their values, which influence deviant behavior. A random sample of undergraduate students provides the data for this analysis.

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Updated 05/20/2006