Anomie, Social Control Theory, And Labelling Theory

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Emile Durkheim, considered to be the father of sociology, has had a major impact on the entire field of behavioral studies. However, his impact on criminology can be seen in almost all theories that have followed him. Using Durkheim’s incredibly dense work, many theorists have created their own theories using his arguments as a basis. He changed the field of criminology when he claimed that crime is a product of society not one of the individual himself. He shifted the focus from individual to society. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate Merton’s Theory of Anomie, Social Control Theory, and Labelling Theory from a Durkheimian perspective. In doing so, it will show how large of an impact Emile Durkheim has made on the field of criminology…show more content…
Merton who followed directly in Durkheim’s footsteps. Merton borrowed Durkheim’s ‘Anomie’ and applied it to a strictly American society. Merton’s theory is based on the American Dream. The American Dream says that anyone who works hard can achieve ultimate happiness and accumulate wealth. Merton agreed with Durkheim in the sense that criminal behavior was a result of cultural and social factors, not biological or individual factors. He believed that the cause to crime was the inability to achieve the American Dream (Lily et al,…show more content…
While this theory does still focus on the social aspects of crime (rather than strictly individual or biological) it takes a much different approach. Social Control Theory looks at the reasons why people do not commit crime. All other theories before it, including Merton and Durkheim, are focused on what causes people to commit crime. Travis Hirschi is the main theorist in Social Control Theory. He came up with two theories, Social Bond Theory and Self-Control Theory (Topak, Lecture 8). Durkheim would fancy Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory. He would agree with all types of bonds mentioned; attachment, commitment, involvement and beliefs. Durkheim would say that this social integration into society is most definitely a factor into the prevention of crime. He would say that within these bonds, the collective consciousness is important. Any violation of conduct within the bond would then violate collective consciousness and that would result in alienation from the group. No one wants to feel excluded, therefore, that is why most people conform to the norms of

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