Violent Crime in a Birth Cohort: Copenhagen 1953–1977
During the last 45 years or so, since Robert Merton (in 1939) first published his now classic article on “Social Structure and Anomie” (1957), undogmatic hypothesizing about crime and social status seems to have favored one or the other of two main, and partly competing, directions: One (that of Merton and others) has to do with frustrated ambitions and the effects of blocked opportunities. The other may be characterized and perhaps originate from Genevieve Knupfer’s article from 1947: The “Portrait of the Underdog”, and it tends to view individual criminality as one among several effects of a person’s low social status origin.
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