In terms of culture goals and means to attain them, describe each of the five modes of adaptation that Merton outlined in strain theory. The first mode of Merton’s strain theory is conforming (or conformists). The best way to explain this would be that these individuals “that accept both the culturally-defined goals, and the societally-defined goals, and the socially-restricted means of achieving such goals, as legitimate. These are individuals that advance (or better themselves) through education or strive for advancements in their current occupations. They strive to become a social success by working hard and following the path that is socially acceptable to gain this success. The second mode is innovation. Merton described the individuals
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Merton’s theory consists of five things. Conformity is when one accepts conventional goals and strive to earn those goals through socially accepted means. The kids in the neighborhood, their shared beginning, could most likely not afford to attend college at USC. So some of them could apply for a community college. But realistically college was not a common goal for the kids, completing high school and going was even struggle. In their shared beginning we see innovation the most. The people accepting cultural goals, but rejecting the accepting way of achieving them. Instead of getting a job to have these means, they often resort to selling jobs or living off of robberies. They want money and items money can buy, but they do not want to have a job or work. This relates to all of the gang activity we see. Parents in the neighborhoods however, can be applied to ritualism. Single mother’s working one or two minimum wage jobs to support their families. They gave up on achieving the goal, but they still continue to practice the socially accepted practices for obtaining jobs. They are working these minimum wage, under-paid jobs forever to support their family. While some parents ae resulting to ritualism, even more result to retreatism in these communities. They are completely rejecting the accepted ways of achieving goals. Drug addicts and alcoholics are a common scene in the movie, those people fit into this category. Gangs which are the most common theme and factor in the movie is compared to rebellion. These people reject accepted goal and means, while replacing them with new ones. Gang activity in the movie in a sense of family and acceptance by creating their own goals and
Conformity is following standards and doing what everyone else, more seeing as a follower. Innovation is doing things that are not approved in society but still doing them to achieve goals. For instance, selling drugs or stealing to have money to continue achieving their goals. Ritualism is a sense of being modest and humble. Retreatism: is to reject the cultural goals and means and finding a way to escape from it. Rebellion is to reject the cultural goals and means then work to replace them. In the Merton’s strain theory one of the strength is that it is able to explain the different types of criminal and noncriminal responses to strain. Evidence that support the strain theory can be Philip Bourgeois when he said that even the most despised criminals have become successful in life and that is exactly what happened with Nathan McCall, from going to prison and then landing a career in the Washington Post, shows that anyone can live to the American Dream. Evaluation of strain theory Marxists says that lack of equality opporunties are at the heart of the Capitalist system and that there is not enough evidence to explain who will commit crimes or not. Not everyone who is lacking from oppurnities turn to crimes to
Majority of the citizens in the United States have always strived to obtain, what is known as the American dream. That dream usually involves having a well-paid career, a family, and having a big house in a neighborhood free from crime. According, Robert Merton in his theory of Strain theory believes that these goals are instilled at an early age, which these goals are held to all of its members in society; however the means of obtaining these goals are not equally distributed out. The means being defined as education, the concepts of hard work are ways to achieve these goals. Merton’s strain theory is an explanation of criminal behavior, according to the textbook, Adler, Mueller and Laufer (2010) defined Strain theory as “that people are law-abiding citizen, but when under great pressure will resort to crime. Disparity between goals and means provide this pressure.”(p.106) Merton goes that in a class-orientated society, opportunities to get to the top are not equally distributed. There are two important elements that in any society. The (1) cultural aspirations, or goals that people believe are worth striving for, and (2) institutionalized means to accepted ways to attain the desire ends. Inequality between goals and means fosters frustrations, which leads to strain. (Alder, Mueller, and Laufer 2010).
Strain theory is no different. During the 1930s, Americans were facing some of the worst, if not the worst, economical times in American history. The collapse of the stock market in 1929 lead to an era we now call “the Great Depression”. During this time extreme poverty and unemployment increased drastically, along with suicide and crime rates, particularly murder rates (Siegel 2010, p. 44). Robert Merton’s influence for the development of strain theory came from his observation of how influential the economic institutions were in regards to all other social factors. He drew heavily from Emile Durkheim’s earlier concept of anomie, or normlessness, to develop his own theoretical structure (Merton 1938; Merton
This paper presents how Labeling theory and strain theory can explain the crimes that The White family from West Virginia commit on a daily basis. The wonderful White of West Virginia portrays corruption and poverty. They do not conform to any authority or rules; all they want to do is fuss, fight and party. The White family takes part in shoot-outs, robberies; gas huffing, drug dealing, pill popping and murders. They are famously known for their Hill Billy tap dancing and wild criminal ways. West Virginia being the poorest state in the United States they do not have the resources to a good education system or available employment. Therefore, frustration sets in, leading to failed aspirations causing the Whites to resort to violent and illegal ways to survive in a declining economy, to obtain a slight chance to their perspective of the American dream. However, being labeled as the rebels of the south just makes that slight chance of the American dream much harder to obtain.
General Strain Theory was reinvented by Robert Agnew in 1992 and contributed a new perception to the present strain theory that was popularized a couple eras ago (Agnew, 1992). Classic strain theory is connected; first with Merton’s (1938), Cohen’s (1955) and Cloward and Ohlin’s (1960). Founded on Durkheim’s theory of anomie (1893), Merton industrialized his theory of deviancy inside a societal fundamental context. Merton’s interpretation on the topic is that goal-expectation inconsistencies, composed with social stratification generates strain between underprivileged societies in turn leading them to use any means necessary, such as criminal, in order to accomplish socially defined goals (Merton, 1938). Merton specified that deviance was a creation of inconsistency amongst social goals and the genuine means to attain these goals (Smith & Bohm, 2008). Merton shaped a typology of deviance contingent on how diverse human beings adjust to ethnically persuaded strain. Conferring to Merton, crime can be elucidated by the predictable socially acknowledged goals and the conceivable genuine means of accomplishing them.
Both theories by Merton and Agnew are similar because their focus is that social situations and conflicts an individual’s comes in contact within his/her life, may produce crime by emphasizing the a goal of success, much more than the means to achieve it. With Merton’s theory he adopted Durkheim’s concept of anomie to explain deviance. Merton’s theory combined both structural and cultural factors. Merton insists that society promotes goals for their citizens and norms for other’s behavior in attempting to reach these goals. In Merton’s theory people do crime when they are unable to reach or accomplish goals. Merton’s theory also explains how an individual’s social structure prevents an individual from becoming economically fortunate. His theory of modern anomie and strain express that individuals respond to strain in 5 individual ways. Those five ways are conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion. On the other hand Agnew general strain theory, feels strain comes from sources other than economic failure. Agnew general strain theory focuses on a few other types of strain and stress. Like the presentation of a negative stimuli, and the loss of a positive stimuli. Agnew feels that this sort of strain leads to a negative state of mind. The emotions like angry, frustration and fear, lead to crime and criminal behavior. One
In classic strain theory it is said that, Classic strain theory focuses on that type of strain involving the inability to achieve success or gain a middle class status. General Strain theory focuses on a broad range of strains, including the inability to achieve a variety of goals, the loss of valued possessions, and negative treatment by others. General Strain Theory has been applied to a range of topics, including the explanation of gender, race/ethnicity, age, community, and societal differences in crime
Most drug dealers usually sell drugs for the money to provide for either them or their family. When it comes to the strain theory it has to explain why the deviance is being done. So, a mother selling drugs and trying to put a roof over her kids would cause a strain on her trying to make get more money. A basic assumption would be that the mother is a bad mother because she won’t go out and get a real job because she wants to make money the fast way. So the ultimate goal would be money, with them rejecting the need for a real job, and just being comfortable and accepting with their way of living. With that being said I don’t think it leaves anything out personally because the Merton’s Theory clearly states the intentions. If we were just talking about drug users then that would fall under the Labeling Theory, which in terms would leave something
Applied to the Strain Theory, Merton believed that society must have a balance between approved social means and approved culture goals. And in the situation of an anomie, is when the individuals represented are in a state of chaos as to where there are no norms or values to be accepted. As the search for the American Dream becomes more desirable to most, there draws a thin line between accessing this concept of stability, and maintaining it. Merton argues that there are not enough legitimate resources available to help those to obtaining this goal in American society because everyone is more ...
Furthermore, Merton presented a Strain theory, which was a micro-level approach that addressed the strain experienced by individuals who are in Anomie and their response in dealing with the disjunction between goals of success and the means available to attain them (Merton, 1964). As noted in the lecture, when individuals undergo the Strains of society and their interplay between scarce institutionalized means, they adapt in several ways (Conformity, Innovation, Ritualism, Retreatism, Rebellion). Not all adaptations involve crime, however, some adaptations include criminal behavior (Lecture, 2016).
There are many theories to choose from and I decided to choose and focus on general strain theory. I chose general strain theory because I believe this particular theory applies to a lot of people across the United States, especially those people who are in the middle class and below. First I am going to explain what general strain theory is and what Agnew finds most important about it. Secondly, what micro level components are used in this theory and how they affect people. Lastly, I am going to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of general strain theory. Not everyone falls victim to general strain theory because not everyone is in the same social and economical predicament. A lot of people are unfortunate to go through these strains/stressors of life and it all comes down to how one chooses to deal with the hand life dealt them.
...riminal activity. This is because individuals become enthralled with their status in the community and want to achieve it anyway possible. This type of social structure "produces a strain toward anomie and deviant behavior. The pressure of such a social order is upon outdoing one's competitors (Thio, 2006)." Anomie strain theory is a good but difficult theory to implement. It offers "a way of constraining crime by improving the legitimate life chances of those who may otherwise make the choice to innovate defiantly (McLaughlin, 2001)."
Positivists focus on the causes of deviance and seek ways to detect it before any deviant behaviors occurs and possibly stop them. In their search for causes of deviant behavior, positivists focus primarily on biological and psychological factors. One of the leading theories supporting Positivism is the Anomie-Strain theory. Anomie-Strain theory is a theory by Robert Merton that focuses on finding the causes of deviant behavior. It states that people commit deviant behaviors when they are strained into “anomie”. Anomie is a term coined by Merton that refers to the absence of social norm held in place by society, which he says is the failure of society to control its members. Merton states that when a person is in “anomie’, they are more likely to engage in deviant behavior as they no long have any moral compass because the norms of society are no longer in place. According to Merton, the primary way people fall into anomie occurs because of the goal-means gap. The goal-means gap is the idea that the goals a person sets for themselves are unattainable due to the lack of a means to achieve them. Merton says that society encourages individuals to engage in deviant activates in order to achieve their goals. Using Merton’s ideas as a spring board, Albert Cohen proposed his own Anomie-Strain theory. Cohen says in his theory that people descend into anomie because of ‘status frustration’. Status frustration is the feeling that a person feels when they cannot achieve their goals through legitimate means due to lack of opportunity provided to them because of the goal-means