Subculture and American History X



Tony Kaye’s 1998 film American History X exemplifies a great many sociological and criminological themes and issues. It is a rich and layered fictional reality that captures the principal ideas of a great many criminological theories. Perhaps the most obvious and important theme explored in the film is that of “subculture.” By examining the personal troubles of brothers Danny (Edward Furlong) and Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton), the film explores subculture formation (including attempts to “resolve” the contradictions between personal troubles and public issues) and the characteristics of subcultures (including their integrative and exclusionary aspects). In short, American History X provides us with a case study of the formation of an “outgroup.” The film captures both “new” and “early” conceptions of subculture.


AMERICAN History Differential Association Chicago School Parent Culture Youth Delinquency 
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© Jon Frauley 2010

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