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Juvenile delinquency

Related: antisocial - crime - deviance - rebellion - youth

Film titles: The Wild One (1953)

The Sadist (1963) - James Landis [Amazon.com]

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
photocredit Unidentified


Juvenile delinquency refers to antisocial or criminal acts performed by juveniles. It is an important social issue because juveniles are capable of committing serious crimes, but society must also recognize that responsibility for juvenile behavior goes beyond the juveniles themselves. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juvenile_delinquency [May 2005]

Juvenile delinquency films

Crime movies play equally well to cultists, again most effectively when they enter murkier sub-genres. Film noir has become almost too legitimate to be of special interest to cultists, although director Edgar G. Ulmer's stylish and fatalistic Detour (1946) is revered, as is director Boris Ingster's noir-prototype The Stranger On The Third Floor (1940) with Peter Lorre. Juvenile-delinquent films are irresistible to cultists, especially those from producer Albert Zugsmith, High School Confidential (1958) and The Beat Generation (1959). If the teens are also hot-rodders, so much the better: Dragstrip Girl (1957), T-Bird Gang (1958), Hot Rods To Hell (1967). Crime films about dope peddlers and acid-trippers are also highly regarded, such as Roger Corman's The Trip (1967), written by Jack Nicholson, or The Love-Ins (1967), produced by Sam Katzman. Drug movies of the '30s are especially prized because their denunciations now play as sheer comedy: Marihuana (1936), Reefer Madness (1936), The Cocaine Fiends (1939). The most popular of all crime movies for cultists are probably the mad-love melodramas, from the classic Gun Crazy (1949), directed by Joseph H. Lewis, to Terrence Malick's Badlands (1973), Leonard Kastle's The Honeymoon Killers (1970), and Pretty Poison (1968) with the beloved cult stars Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins. --http://www.e-filmmusic.de/article2.htm [May 2005]

List of films

--http://www.angelfire.com/or/sociologyshop/PRISON.html#jdm [Apr 2005]

THE JUVENILE delinquents not the pop artists are the true inheritors of Dada

THE JUVENILE delinquents — not the pop artists — are the true inheritors of Dada. Instinctively grasping their exclusion from the whole of social life, they have denounced its products, ridiculed, degraded and destroyed them.

A smashed telephone, a burnt car, a terrorised cripple are the living denial of the 'values' in the name of which life is eliminated. Delinquent violence is a spontaneous overthrow of the abstract and contemplative role imposed on everyone, but the delinquents' inability to grasp any possibility of really changing things once and for all forces them, like the Dadaists, to remain purely nihilistic.

They can neither understand nor find a coherent form for the direct participation in the reality they have discovered, for the intoxication and sense of purpose they feel, for the revolutionary values they embody. The Stockholm riots, the Hell's Angels, the riots of Mods and Rockers — all are the assertion of the desire to play in a situation where it is totally impossible.

All reveal quite clearly the relationship between pure destructivity and the desire to play: the destruction of the game can only be avenged by destruction. Destructivity is the only passionate use to which one can put everything that remains irremediably separated. It is the only game the nihilist can play; the bloodbath of the 120 Days of Sodom proletarianised along with the rest. --Timothy Clark, Christopher Gray, Donald Nicholson-Smith & Charles Radcliffe in The Revolution of Modern Art and the Modern Art of Revolution (1967) via http://www.notbored.org/english.html [Jun 2005]

Seduction of the Innocent (1954) - Dr. Fredric Wertham

Dr. Fredric Wertham (March 20, 1895-November 29, 1981) was a German-American psychiatrist and crusading author who protested the purportedly harmful effects of mass media-comic books in particular-on the development of children. His best-known book was Seduction of the Innocent (1954), which led to a U.S. Congressional inquiry into the comic book industry and the creation of the Comics Code.

Wertham's writing, in books and magazine articles, turned exclusively to the unwholesome effects of the media, and comic books in particular. He was not alone in these criticisms, but as a respected clinician who had been called to testify in trials and government hearings, he was particularly influential. Seduction of the Innocent (1954), and Wertham's subsequent public testimony about comic books, represented the peak of this influence.

Seduction of the Innocent and Senate hearings
Seduction of the Innocent described overt or covert depictions of violence, sex, drug use, and other adult fare within "crime comics"-a term Wertham used to describe not only the popular gangster/murder-oriented titles of the time, but superhero and horror comics as well-and asserted, largely based on undocumented anecdotes, that reading this material encouraged similar behavior in children.

Comics, especially the crime/horror titles pioneered by EC, were not lacking in gruesome images; Wertham reproduced these extensively, pointing out what he saw as recurring morbid themes such as "injury to the eye". Many of his other conjectures, particularly about hidden sexual themes (e.g. images of female nudity concealed in drawings of muscles and tree bark, or Batman and Robin as homosexual lovers), were met with derision within the comics industry. (Wertham's claim that Wonder Woman had a bondage subtext was somewhat better documented, as her creator William Moulton Marston had admitted as much; however, Wertham also claimed Wonder Woman's strength and independence made her a lesbian.) The splash made by this book, and Wertham's previous credentials as an expert witness, made it inevitable that he would appear before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency led by anti-crime crusader Estes Kefauver. In extensive testimony before the committee, Wertham restated arguments from his book and pointed to comics as a major cause of juvenile crime. The committee's questioning of their next witness, EC publisher William Gaines, focused on violent scenes of the type Wertham had decried. Though the committee's final report did not blame comics for crime, it recommended that the comics industry tone down its content voluntarily; possibly taking this as a veiled threat of potential censorship, publishers developed the Comics Code Authority to censor their own content. The Code not only banned violent images, but entire words and concepts (e.g. "terror" and "zombies"), and dictated that criminals must always be punished-thus destroying most EC-style titles, and leaving a sanitized subset of superhero comics as the chief remaining genre. Wertham described the Comics Code as inadequate. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_Wertham [May 2005]

Delinquent Boys (1955) - Albert K. Cohen

Delinquent Boys (1955) - Albert K. Cohen [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In 1955 Albert K. Cohen wrote Delinquent Boys. He attempted to look at how such a subculture began. Cohen found that delinquency among youths was more prevalent among lower class males and the most common form of this was the juvenile gang. Cohen, a student of Sutherland and Merton, learned from Sutherland that differential association and cultural transmission of criminal norms led to criminal behavior, while Merton taught him about structurally induced strain.

Delinquent subcultures, according to Cohen, have values that are in opposition to those of the dominant culture. These subcultures emerge in the slums of some of the nation's largest cities. Often, they are rooted in class differentials, parental aspirations and school standards. Cohen notes that the position of one's family in the social structure determines the problems the child will later face in life. Thus, they will experience status frustration and strain and adapt into either a corner boy, college boy, or a delinquent boy.

Corner boys lead a conventional lifestyle, making the best of a bad situation. They spend most of their time with peers and receive peer support in group activities. These boys are far and few between. Their chances for success are limited. Cohen argues that their academic and social handicaps prevent them from living up to middle-class standards.

Delinquent boys, on the other hand, band together to define status. Their delinquent acts serve no real purpose. They often discard or destroy what they have stolen. Their acts are random and are directed at people and property. They are a short-run hedonistic subculture with no planning. They often act on impulse, often without consideration for the future. Members are loyal to one another and allow no one to restrain their behavior.

Stealing, in the delinquent gang, serves as a form of achieving peer status within the group, with no other motive. Cohen declared that all children seek social status, but not everyone can compete for it in the same way. Reaction-formation, a Freudian defense mechanism, serves to overcome anxiety, as a hostile overreaction to middle class values can occur. A delinquent subculture is created to resolve problems of lower-class status.

Much of Cohen's work has been both praised and criticized. It helps to answer questions that remain unresolved by strain and cultural deviance theories. His notion of status deprivation and the middle-class measuring rod has been very useful to researchers. His theory, however, fails to explain why some delinquent subcultures eventually become law-abiding, even when this social class position is fixed. Later, he expanded his theory to include not only lower-class delinquents but also variants of middle-class delinquents and female delinquent subcultures. Cohen's theory stimulated later formations of new theories. --http://home.comcast.net/~ddemelo/crime/cohen.html [May 2005]

see also: subculture

Rebel Without a Cause: The Story of a Criminal Psychopath (1944) - Robert Mitchell Lindner

Rebel Without a Cause: The Story of a Criminal Psychopath (1944) - Robert Mitchell Lindner [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Book News, Inc.
First published in 1944, this work contains the full transcriptions of 46 hour-long sessions of hypnoanalysis, in which psychoanalyst Lindner attempted to, and felt he succeeded in, exposing the hidden psychodynamics of "criminal psychopathology," rooted in painful memories from the past that the subject had suppressed. The author argues that hypnoanalysis substantiates and verifies the concepts that psychonalysis used to explain behavior dynamics. --via Amazon.com

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