Examine the role of Access to Opportunity Structures in causing Crime and Deviance

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AQA A2 Sociology Textbook pg. 79 12 Mark Question

Merton belives that there becomes a strain between the enequal structure of society (structural factors) and the emphasis on achieving mainstream goals (cultural factors). When this strain occurs, some individuals are denied access to legitimate means in order to achieve these goals due to the structure of society. This causes an individual to have a reaction of deviant behaviour, Merton highlights five different responses to this situation: innovation- where one accepts the mainstream goals of society but finds new ways of achieving it, for example, through theft or fraud. Conformity- where an individual accepts the mainstream goals and strives to reach them through legitimate means. Retreatism- where one rejects the mainstream goals and the legitimate means and becomes a drop out. Rebellion- where one creates their own goal and tries to cause a revolution in society, Ritualism- where one gives up on trying to achieve mainstream goals but has accepted the legitimate means so just stays in a dead end job.

Cohen developed Merton's ideas, he agreed that deviant behaviour arises when legitimate means to achieve mainstream goals are denied, however, he does not believe it is an individual's response to this, he believes that is is a groups response. He notes that deviant behaviour is largely a working class phenomenon, and looks at working class boys as an example. He believes that in the education system, the working class face anomie as it is…




This is really well structured! Thank you:)

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