Subterranean sources of subcultural delinquency beyond the American dream

John Hagan, Gerd Hefler, Gabriele Classen, Klaus Boehnke, Hans Merkens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Are subcultural forms of crime and delinquency wholesale rejections or distorted reflections of core values of market-oriented societies? Current evidence casts doubt on the former position, while contemporary theory suggests the possibility that a culture of competition encourages hierarchic forms of self-interest, leading to the acceptance of inequality and anomic amorality and, ultimately, to group-related delinquency. Oddly, the effects of this culture of competition and hierarchic self-interest have not previously been documented empirically in sociological or criminological research, even though this step is fundamental and crucial to the argument that subcultural crime and delinquency derive from market-driven values. We analyze data from four sites in East and West Germany to identify the strands of a subterranean causal web that link core values of market society to subcultural delinquency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-342
Number of pages34
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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