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Over examine some of the characters in

the past few decades in Western societies, there has been a variety of
theorists who have attempted to explain the basis of social structures, and the
effects that these structures have on deviance, the creation of sub cultures
and on criminality. The effects that structural forces have within society can
be analyzed through the contexts of racial segregation, labelled communities,
cultures/sub-cultures, and different social settings.  For the purpose of this essay, I will relate a
variety of perspectives and sub-theories, which were presented in the course Positivist Theories, to the movie Boyz N the Hood (1991), an American teen
drama about the reality of living in a lower class African American community,
also known as the ‘hood’.  I will also examine
some of the characters in this movie, specifically, Tre, Ricky, Dough Boy, and
Furious and demonstrate how various social contexts can have an effect on
one’s behaviour and lead to conformity and deviance.

Individual Effects of Living in
the ‘Hood’

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            Throughout the movie Boyz N the Hood, there are many examples
where the Chicago School may be
applied and could help viewers to better understand the symbolic interactions that
take place in the movie.  One of the main
themes of this School is that “human behaviour is developed and changed by the
social and physical environment of the person rather than by genetic structure”
(Williams & McShane, 2018: 40).  In this sense, criminal behaviour has a direct
correlation to where, and with whom, individuals are socialized.

the context of the movie Boyz N the Hood,
the Chicago School would claim
that the family and respective neighbourhoods played an important role on the
social development of individuals.  For
example, it is evident that Tre was
raised very differently than the rest of his friends within his community. In
the beginning of the movie, all of the ‘boys’ were young kids in the “hood”,
where violence and crime were normalized,
and it was understood that these young men
would eventually conform to these criminal norms.  Tre’s upbringing
was greatly influenced by his father Furious, whom unlike
the rest of the fathers of the “hood”, understood the dangers of living in this
environment and enforced strict rules. He
also instilled the values of respect and responsibility as well as, the
importance of education and of developing a strong work ethic.  As the film progresses, it is evident that
because of Tre’s strong family
values and of his upbringing, he is well-socialized to become a responsible
educated adult. 

the use of empirical sociology, we
can “examine people in the aggregate and as individuals. The life history
provided a method of reaching deeply into the cumulative factors and events
shaping the lives of individuals” (Williams & McShane, 2018: 40). Therefore, the many experiences which individuals are
exposed over the course of their lives have a direct relationship on their
future.  Unlike, Tre, 
 Dough Boy was raised in a family structure that had fewer rules and
lack of discipline, and therefore he often resorted to crime and violence, as these
were the accepted ways of dealing with situations, and the normative standards of behaviour within that community.  For example Shaw and McKay (1970), describe these
normative deviances as:

the same community, theft may defined as right and proper in some groups and as
immoral, improper, and undesirable in others. In some groups wealth and
prestige are secured through acts of skill and courage in the delinquent or
criminal world, while in neighbouring groups any attempt to achieve distinction
in this manner would result in extreme disapprobation” (Shaw & McKay, 1970:


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