Sociology of Youth Crime
This course begins by situating youth as a ‘social problem’, and by exploring popular and official perceptions of what traditionally has been called ‘juvenile delinquency’ and more recently has come to be known, in Canada at least, as ‘youth crime’. The historical development of juvenile delinquency, delinquency prevention, the relation of youth to schooling, and various laws relating to youth justice (including the Juvenile Delinquency Act, the Young Offenders Act, and the Youth Criminal Justice Act) are related areas discussed at length. Theoretical explanations of youth crime are discussed throughout but, since the major pre-requisite for the course is Sociology 325 (Deviance and Social Control), much of these discussions will assume that students bring to the class a familiarity with mainstream deviancy theory. The course also examines Canadian youth culture and youth subcultures. Comparisons with other national settings will be made wherever possible. Issues to be examined in the final section of the course include forms of youth style, youthful resistance, and the relationship between certain youth subcultural genres, drugs, popular music, and politics. Throughout the course, reference will be made to ‘social stratifiers’ such as social class, gender, race, as well as to the mass media. The course is designed to move beyond the rather parochial ways in which youth crime/culture has been dealt with in the past, and to provide students with a broad and internationally-focused understanding of youth crime, youth justice, and youth culture/subcultures.