Merton's Strain Theory

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  • 1930's USA
  • American dream= America is a "land of opportunity". It is seen as a place where everyone get success- financially and materially. meritocracy is encouraged.
  • The strain of achieving success (the legitimate way) for some is too much... Merton believes that they become deviant to gain sucess illegitimately.
  • UPDATE- the dream has to be transferred to the next generation otherwise the 'dream' belief will be less important throughout each generation. It is feared that the dream may be becoming less important to younger generations in USA
  • The Dream is based on strong communities, families etc. It is believed that when this isn't present, crime and deviance increases
  • STRAIN THEORY= developed to

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