Mertons Strain Theory

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  • Mertons Strain Theory
    • Description
      • Containes two different factors, structural and cultural.
        • Structural
          • Societies unequal oppotunity structure.
        • Cultural Factors
          • The strong emphysis on sucess goals and the weeker emphysis on using legitimate means to achieve them.
      • Devience is the result of strain between two things.
        • The Goals that a culture encorages indeviduaks to acieve.
        • What the institutional structure of societiey allows them to acieve legitimatly.
      • The Anomic Paradigm
        • Conformity
          • Accept the culturally aproved goals and strive to achieve them legitimally.
        • Innovation
          • Accept the goal of money sucess, however being blocked from this leads to devience.
        • Ritualism
          • Indeviduals give up trying to achieve the goals but have internalised the legitimate means and so follow the rules for their own sake.
        • Retreatism
          • Indeviduals reject both the goals and the legitimate means and become drop outs.
        • Rebellion
          • Indeviduals reject the existing societies goals and means but they replace them with new ones and desire to bring about recvelutionarry change.
    • Evaluation
      • Advantages
        • He can explain different patterns of devience shown in the official crime statistics.
        • He shows how both normal and devient behavour arises from the main mainstream goals.
      • Disadvantages
        • It assumes there is value consensus that everyone strives for money sucess and ignores the posibility that some may not sare this goal.
        • It takes oficial crime statistics at face value. These represent working class crime so Murton sees it as mainly a working class phonominon. Also too deterministic as the working class experience the most straun yet they dont all deviate
        • Marxist argue that it requires the power of the ruling class to make and enforce laws in ways that criminalise the poor but no the rich.
        • It only accounts fir utilitarian crime for moneytatry gain and not crimes of violence or vandalism. It also cannot explain crimes such as genocide or tourture.
    • Examples
      • The American dream
        • Value money sucess which is the matierial wealth and the high status that goes with it.
        • They believe that society is meritocratic and everyone has equil oppotunities.
          • The reality is different: Disadvantaged groups are denied oppotunities which results in strain between the cultural goal and the oppotunities to achieve which creates frustration and therefore devience to try get to this goal.


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