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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 03-04-15 10:12

Merton took DURKHEIM's anomie and adapted to suit 1930's America, arguing that anomie resulted from the societies goals being unavailable to achieve by means given to the individual. Merton's theory is a critque of American culture at the time. The main argument was that American society and values caused crime and deviance.

The American dream is the idea that everyone who works hard can achieve prosperity and success. American society is therefore set on the goal of material success. Not everyone can have material success however. This creates a strain then to anomie. Because individuals cannot achieve material success using legitmate means that strain means that they will turn to illegitmate (criminal) means of achieving that success. The majoirty of individuals will contiune to conform to society's rules despite not being able to achieve material success, a small proportion of others though will deviate away in order to achieve this success. This strain is stronger for some groups, those from the lower classes. There are four deviant adaptions that desscribe individuals who do not conform; innovate, retreatist, rebellion and ritualist. Each either accepts or rejects cultural values and/or cultural goals.

Innovation is the most widely known deviant adaption. It refers to the illegitmate means of achieving desired goals in society. They accept the goal in…


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