One of the earliest sociologists to look at crime and deviance (1938)
Argued that crime has four key characteristics
- Inevitable - crime will always exist, it can be reduced but never eliminated
- Universal - crime exists in every society
- Relative - crime is a social construct, criminal behaviour varies from society to society and over time
- Functional - a limited amount of crime and deviance can actually benefit a society
Argued that many types of crime exist because society shares the same "American Dream", but not everyone can achieve these things lawfully.
A strain exists between the goals and ambitions of people and their ability to acheieve them.
Merton argued there were five different ways to respond to the "American Dream"
- Conformity - the response of the majority, means going to school, gaining qualifications and trying to acheive the "American Dream" by…