A.C. 2.2 + 3.2 - Describing and Evaluating Sociological Theory (UNIT 2) (3)

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  • A.C. 2.2 Describe Sociological Theories.
    • A.C. 3.2 Evaluate Sociological Theories.
      • Advantage
        • Merton shows how both normal and deviant behaviour can arise because it shows conformity and ritualism, it shows normal behaviour.
        • Explains how normal and deviant individuals can arise even whilst sharing the same goals (conformity and innovation
        • Explains how individuals adapt to social strain and it also Explains the reasons for crime and deviance as a result of social strain
        • Explains why working class crime rates may be higher and also it Explains how different individuals of different positions in the social structure resort to different adaptations.
      • Disadvantage
        • Explains only utilitarian crime, ignoring reasons for non utilitarian crime, also it takes an individualistic approach, ignoring group crime
        • Too deterministic; not all working class individuals resort to crime and Ignores ruling class power to create and enforce laws to prevent the deviant adaptations (innovations,ritualism,retreatism and rebellion)
        • Takes official statistics at face value. Labelling theorists such as Cicourel argue that official crime statistics should not be used as a resource (source of facts) but investigated as a topic, because they can be unreliable.
        • Police use the typification of the 'typical delinquent' to make arrests, and working class people are more likely to fit the typification with ethnicity, clothing, manner, time and place. Therefore police will patrol working class areas more often resulting in more w/c arrests, whilst in reality this may not be truly representative.
    • Merton Strain Theory
      • Merton believes all crime stems from the unequal structure of society. due to 'Blocked Opportunities' not everyone has the same opportunity to achieve their goals in society.
      • Working class, often are blocked away due to poverty and inadequate schools. strain between the goal and that lack of legitimate opportunities to reach that goal.
      • resulting in crime and deviance, conformists will try to achieve the goal legitimately, but not all do.
      • Merton believed in 5 different strands and adaptions to frustration of not being able to succeed on society's terms.
      • Conformity: people will be trying to achieve what goals they establish by legitimate means. this is also by the societies norms and values. e.g. work hard for a promotion
      • Ritualism: individuals who once had goals gave them up. but they will still strive due to motivation of life. e.g. fashion, people will turn up to just work and get paid.
      • Innovation: people will not achieve and succeed their goals legitimately, and so they start to commit crime by having innovate means e.g. robbing a bank.
      • Retreatism: people give up on every goals by rejecting all means to succeed and so they retreat from mainstream society e.g. dropping out of work, becoming a drug addict
      • Rebellion: people reject everything that society is giving in order to personally strive, rebel against society. e.g. becoming a terrorist.


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