‘Boyz In the Hood’
The film ‘Boyz in the Hood’ is a very powerful drama about growing up in black Urban America. Written and directed by John Singleton who grew up in the hood of South Central Los Angeles. The film takes place in Los Angeles and tells the story of ten-year old Tre Styles who, because of behavior problems in school and his mother’s educational and career responsibilities, is sent to live with his father, Jason Styles in Crenshaw, South Central LA in order to teach Tre guidance and self- discipline. Upon his arrival, Tre is greeted with domestic duties designed to make him a responsible man unlike his friends, Darin, Doughboy, and his brother Ricky, who are raised by their single mother Brenda. Tre’s situation and relationship with his father is clearly contrary to that of his friends, who are all being raised by single mothers, because their fathers have died or abandoned them, and all become involved in teenage parenthood, gangs, drugs or violence. The absence of their father is conspicuous throughout the movie. Doughboy gets into a lot of trouble while still a young boy. By the time he is seventeen he has already served a jail sentence and his future seems to be set in a pattern of selling drugs and gang violence. Ricky becomes a father while he still young and later is a victim of gun violence. With that being said, Tre’s life and his friend’s life are completely contrary to each other when looking at certain social structure and social process theories.
Throughout the film ‘Boyz in the Hood’, there are multiple social structure and social process theories present. The first social structure theory I will be discussing from the film is the general strain theory. The general strain theory states that strain have a variety of sources and causes crime in the absence of adequate coping mechanism’s. The general strain theory also identifies the complexities of strain in modern society. For instance in the film Boyz in the Hood, the brothers Doughboy and Ricky experienced the general strain theory first hand throughout their childhood in the film. The brothers didn’t have adequate resources in their home because their mother was a single mom on welfare with little outside help. Throughout the film their father was also never present in their lives or played any type of role in raising them. With the absence of a male model the boys became victims of their environment. Doughboy was locked up many times as a juvenile and also partipatcated in gang activity through his childhood. Ricky fathered a baby at a very young age. The cycle of children deserted by fathers unable to cope psychologically or economically with a family seems likely to repeat itself. The hope for Ricky is that he sees a football scholarship leading to a college place as his way out of the violence and poverty of the area. But before he is able to attend college he is gunned down. Nevertheless the strain of not having a positive male role model growing up in urban American is directly correlated to Doughboy and Ricky life throughout the film.
Furthermore the next social structure theory that is present in the film is the social disorganization theory. Social disorganization theory focuses on place and tries to explain why some communities experience high levels of crime while others do not. The theory attends to the ecologies or environments of communities in which social institutions succeed or fail in maintaining order in public places. Arguably, the success of a given neighborhood or community is based upon the effective collective use of