The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology

By Terence Morris | Go to book overview

XI
DELINQUENCY, HOUSING AND SOCIAL POLICY

Housing
I N discussing the ecological concept of the natural area the point was made that "cultural differentiation" between urban neighbourhoods for the most part resulted from the fact that the social classes tended to be residentially segregated through the operations of the housing market and through individual choices made with reference to class determined systems of cultural values. In the preceding chapter it has been suggested that anti-social behaviour in general and delinquency in particular may be meaningfully studied in terms of the subcultural differences between the social classes. It would seem at first sight then, that the study of the delinquency area was not only a procedure whose usefulness might be called into question but whose validity might also be doubted. Now while it is true that instances of "psychiatric" delinquency may crop up anywhere in the city, "social" delinquency tends to be much more highly localised. The Croydon evidence confirms that whilst the former is more evenly distributed over the middle and working class areas of the town "social" delinquency predominates in old working class areas and on the inter-war housing estates.We must at this stage return to the concept of the "area of delinquent residence" in which a constellation of factors may be identified which can be said to constitute a "delinquency potential". They can be summarised by the following propositions:
1. Delinquent or criminally anti-social bebaviour of a "social" kind tends to be characteristic of working class culture and to be perpetuated by it.

-182-

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