Merton's Strain Theory

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  • Created by: Harriet
  • Created on: 05-06-13 15:34
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  • Merton's Strain Theory
    • Deviance is the result of strain between..
      • Structural Factors- Society's unequal opportunity structure
      • Cultural Factors- Society's strong emphasis in success goals and weaker emphasis on using legitimate means to achieve it
    • The American Dream
      • Aims for 'money success' through legitimate means
      • As it is not meritocratic, a strain between money success and lack of legitimate opportunities means they may result to illegitimate means
    • Deviant Adaptations to Strain
      • Confiormity
        • indiviiduals accept the culturally approved goals and seek the legitimately
      • Innovation
        • Individuals  accept the money success goals but use illegitimate means
      • Ritualism
        • individuals give up on the success goal but have internalised the legitimate means so follow rules for their own sake
      • Retreatism
        • Individuals reject both goal and legitimate means (drop outs)
      • Rebellion
        • they replace societies goals and means with new ones with the aim of creating social change
    • Evaluation of Merton
      • looks at crime statistics and sees crime as a W/C phenomenom
      • It only accounts for utilitarian crime
      • It ignores the role of group deviance


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