mertons strain theory

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  • mertons strain theory
    • the cultral goal of making money and the lack of legitimate oppertunities to achieve it produces frustration and this inturn causes them to look for illegitimate ways often deviant and sometimes criminal
    • he argues that the individuals position in the social structure affects the way they adapt or respond to the strain to anomie
    • there are five different types of adaption depending upon whether the individual accept rejects or replaces approved cultral goals
      • conformity
        • accepts and tries to achieve culturally approved goals ligitimately
        • most likely amoung middle class individuals who have good opertunities to achieve
        • most common responce
      • rebellion
        • rejects existing society goals and means but replace them with new ones
        • individuals desire to bring round revolutionary change and create a new kind of society
        • types of people include political radicals and counter cultures (hippies)
      • innovation
        • accept the goal but use illegitimate means to get to it
          • theift
          • fraud
        • lower end of the class structure
      • retreatism
        • reject goals and legitimate means
        • become drop outs of society
        • merton includes psychotics, outcasts, vagrants, tramps, chronic drunkards and drug addicts
      • ritualism
        • give up on goals but stick to legitimate means
        • typical of lowermiddle class office workers in dead-end routine jobs
    • criticisms
      • takes offical statistics at face value
      • Marxists say that he ignores the power of the ruling class
      • assumes there is a value consensus
      • only accounts for utilitarian crime for money gain and not crimes of violence
      • it explains how deviance results from individuals adapting to the strain to anomie but ignores the roles of group deviance


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