Violence among Russian-Germans in the Context of the Subculture of Violence Theory

  • Elmar G. M. Weitekamp
  • Kerstin Reich
Chapter

Abstract

After the fall of the iron curtain a tremendous number of Russian immigrants with German ancestors came to Germany. Called Russian-Germans or the Aussiedler, they were granted German citizenship directly after their arrival. This process started in 1987 and reached a peak in 1990 with 400,000 immigrants from Romania, Poland, and the former Soviet Union. The total is now over 3 million and it is estimated that another 2 million people in those countries are still waiting to come to Germany. Recently, Germany enacted new laws to control and combat this massive immigration. All the welfare measures to help this group of immigrants were reduced in order to make it less attractive to emigrate. These reductions made it much more difficult for Russians of German descent to leave their respective countries. The most drastic measure is that persons who want to emigrate must take a language test in their country of origin to show that they have a German educational background and knowledge about the German culture. After introducing this measure one third of the people taking the language test failed and about 40 percent did not even dare to take it. In 1999 the German government enacted a law which allows only 100,000 Russian immigrants of German descent per year. In the past3 Germany had used substantial aid packages in order to integrate the Aussiedler into German society. Among other types of aid they received “integration aid”, a kind of unemployment payment, for 312 days and German language courses for 12 months. However, new laws enacted in 1993 reduced the amount of aid for the Aussiedler drastically. Integration aid is now paid for only 156 days and the language courses were reduced from 12 to 6 months. The “guarantee fund” which amounted to 450 million German marks in 1991 was reduced by 65 percent and is now 180 million marks per year. This reduction hurts young people the most, since this fund provided reeducation, job training programs, and social integration support programs (Reich et al. 1999). For young immigrants these measures led to severe social exclusion. Left in a “no man’s land” or “enemy country” where they are involved in an intergenerational conflict with their parents and where legitimate means to succeed are blocked, the young Russians often rely on peer groups and subcultures, something they know about from their time in the former Soviet Union. Violence in these subcultures is an important and potent vehicle to find self-identity and to succeed in an unfriendly new home country, and even more important to have a sense of control.

Keywords

Migration Europe Income Boulder Kelly 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adler, F., Mueller, G.O., Laufer, W.S. (2001). Criminology. Boston, McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  2. Bushnell, J. (1990). “Introduction: The History and Study of the Soviet Youth Subculture.” Soviet Sociology, Vol 27, No 1, 3–10.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, A.K. (1955). Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang. New York, The Free Press of Glencoe.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, A.K. and Short, J.F. Jr., Research on Delinquent Subcultures. (1958). Journal of Social Issues 14, 00. 20–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cloward, R.A. and Ohlin, L.E. (1960). Delinquency and Opportunity. Glencoe, New York, The Free Press of Glencoe.Google Scholar
  6. Dobson, R. (1990). “Youth Problems in the Soviet Union.” In: Jones, A., Connor, W.D., Powell, D. (eds.) Soviet Social Problems. Boulder, Westview Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dubet, F. and Lapeyronnie, D. (1994). Im Aus der Vorstaedte: der Zerfall der demokratischen Gesellschaft. Stuttgart, Klett-Cotta Verlag.Google Scholar
  8. Dünkel, F. and Skepenat, M., Jugendliche und Heranwachsende als Taeter und Opfer von Gewalt. In: Schwind, H.-D., Kube, E., and Kuehne, H.-H. (Eds.). (1998). Essays in Honor of Hans-Joachim Schneider: Criminology at the Threshold of the 21“ Century. Berlin, Walter de Gryter.Google Scholar
  9. Eckert, R., Reis, C.,Wetzstein, T.A. (1999). Bilder und Begegnungen: Konflikte zwischen einheimischen und Aussiedlerjugendlichen. In: K.J. Bade and J. Oltmer. Aussiedler: Deutsche Einwanderer aus Osteuropa. IMIS- Schriften, Bd. 8. Osnabrück, Universitätsverlag Rasch.Google Scholar
  10. Fain, A.P. (1990). Specific Features of Informal Youth Associations in large Cities. Soviet Sociology Vol. 27, No. 1, 19–42.Google Scholar
  11. Finckenauer, J.O. and L. Kelley. (1992). “Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Subcultures in the Former Soviet Union”. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. Vol 16, No 2, pp 247–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Finckenauer, J.O. and Waring, E.J. (1998). Russian Mafia in America: Immigration, Culture and Crime. Boston, Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hänze, M. and Lantermann, E.-D. Entwicklung und Anpassung. In: Silbereisen, R. K., Lantermann, E.-D., Schmitt-Rodermund, E. (Eds.) (1999). Aussiedler in Deutschland. Akkulturation von Persönlichkeit und Verhalten. Opladen: Leske und Budrich.Google Scholar
  14. James, O. (1995). Juvenile Violence in a Winnder-Loser Culture. London, Free Association Books.Google Scholar
  15. Klein, M. W., Kerner, H.-J., Maxson, C. L. and Weitekamp, E.G.M. (eds.). (2001). The Eurogang Paradox: Street Gangs and Youth Groups in the U.S. and Europe. Dordrecht, Boston, London, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Maxson, C.L and Klein, M.W. (1995). Investigating gang structure. Journal of Gang Research 3, (1), pp. 33–40.Google Scholar
  17. Miller, J. (2001). One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs and Gender. Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Miller, W.B. (1958). Lower-Class Culture as a Generating Milieu of Gang Delinquency. Journal of Social Issues, 14, 5–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Noom, M. J., Dekovic, M., Meeus, W.H.J. (1999). Autonomy, Attachment and Psychosocial Adjustment During Adolescence: A Double-Edged Sword? Journal of Adolescence, 22. P. 771–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ovchinskii, V.S. (1989). Criminal Tendencies in the Youth Environment, Soviet Sociology 27, (4), pp 88–91.Google Scholar
  21. Pfeiffer, C. Juvenile Crime and Violence in Europe. (1998). In: M. Tonry (ed.) Crime and Justice: A Review of Research. Volume 23. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Polk, K. and E.G.M. Weitekamp. (1999). Emerging Patterns of Youth Violence. Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology Meetings, Toronto.Google Scholar
  23. Reich, K., Weitekamp, E.G.M., Kerner, H.-J. (1999). Jugendliche Aussiedler: Probleme und Chancen im Integrationsprozess. Bewährungshilfe, Vol. 46, No 4, 335–359.Google Scholar
  24. Riordan, J. (ed.). (1989). Soviet Youth Culture. Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Salagaev, A. (2001). Evolution of Delinquent Gangs in Russia. In: M. W. Klein, H.-J. Kerner, C.L. Maxson and E.G.M. Weitekamp (eds.) The Eurogang Paradox: Street Gangs and Youth Groups in the U.S. and Europe. Dordrecht, Boston, London, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. Schagerl, S. (2000). Aussiedler-Jugendliche. Integrationsanforderungen-Bewältigungsstrategien-Gewaltprävention. In: E. Gropper, H.-M. Zimmermann (Eds.) Zuwanderung. Zugehörigkeit und Chancengleichheit für Kinder und Jugendliche. Aktion Jugendschutz (ajs) Stuttgart, Landesarbeitsstelle Baden-Württemberg.Google Scholar
  27. Schmitt-Rodermund, E. and Silbereisen, R:K. (1999). Differentielle Akkulturation von Entwicklungsorientierungen unter jugendlichen Aussiedlern. In: Silbereisen, R. K., Lantermann, E.-D., Schmitt-Rodermund, E. (Eds.). Aussiedler in Deutschland. Akkulturation von Persönlichkeit und Verhalten. Opladen, Leske und Budrich.Google Scholar
  28. Sellin, T. (1938). Culture Conflict and Crime. Bulletin No 41, New York, Social Science Research Council.Google Scholar
  29. Silbereisen, R.K. and Schmitt-Rodermund, E. (1999). Wohlbefinden der jugendlichen Aussiedler. In: Silbereisen, R.K., Lantermann E-D., Schmitt-Rodermund, E (Eds.) Aussiedler in Deutschland. Akkulturation von Personlichkeit und Verhalten. Opladen, Leske und Buderich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stoll, F. (1999). Von Russland nach Württemberg: Eine Studie zur Integration jugendlicher Spätaussiedler. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Tübingen, Germany.Google Scholar
  31. von List, F. (1905). Das Verbrechen als sozial-pathologische Erscheinung. von List, F. Strafrechtliche Aufsätze und Vorträge, Zweiter Band, 1892–1904, Berlin, J. Guttentag.Google Scholar
  32. Weitekamp, E.G.M. Straffällige junge Aussiedler - was kann die Justiz tun? In: Walter, J. (ed.) Jugendstrafvollzug am Ende des 20. und zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts. Godesberg, Forum Verlag (forthcoming 2001 )Google Scholar
  33. Weitekamp, E.G.M. (2001). Gangs in Europe: Assessments at the Millennium. In: M. W. Klein, H.-J. Kerner, C.L. Maxson and E.G.M. Weitekamp (eds.) The Eurogang Paradox: Street Gangs and Youth Groups in the U.S. and Europe. Dordrecht, Boston, London, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Wilson, W.J. (1996). When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York, Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  35. Wolfgang, M.E. and F. Ferracuti. (1967). The Subculture of Violence. Beverly Hills, Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  36. Young, P. (1932). The Pilgrims of Russian-Town. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elmar G. M. Weitekamp
    • 1
  • Kerstin Reich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of TuebingenGermany

Personalised recommendations