Merton's Strain Theory Essay

Merton's Strain Theory Essay

Length: 1135 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Merton’s (1938) strain theory social structures account for the criminal tendencies found in offenders. Individuals adjust to societal pressures in five distinct ways. Adaptation I, which entails conforming to both culture norms and means, is the most common. The popularity of this adaptation allows a society to function effectively. In contrast, adaptation IV is the least common and gives rise to the rejection of both cultural goals and means. Those that adopt this culture pattern are societal misfits and usually include some such persons as psychotics, psychoneurotics, chronic autists, vagrants, and chronic drunkards or drug addicts.
Sykes and Matza’s (1957) control theory postulates that acts of delinquency are generally not approved of even by the delinquents who commit such crimes. First, they don’t believe their crimes are “right”. Instead, they often show remorse or guilt when faced with the consequences of their crimes. Moreover, this show of shame shouldn’t be completely attributed to deception to pacify authorities.
Second, delinquents do have respect for law-abiding citizens (Sykes and Matza, 1957). Often if a delinquent’s offenses are shared with law-abiding people that they look up to or sports heroes perhaps they will show deep remorse. Therefore, delinquents do not hold a set of values that are in contrast with cultural norms. Sykes and Matza (1957) describe two more points, but in light of the two given here there is evidence that delinquency is not the creation of a sub-culture, because a society of those who conform cannot be overlooked.
Instead, delinquent acts are internally justified despite their repugnance to the legal system and the rest of society (Sykes and Matza, 1957). There ...

... middle of paper ...

In sum, Rosenfeld and Messner (1995), Bonger (1969), and Currie (1997) give examples of how materialism is destroying the lives of US citizens. Materialism is not a facet of liberal or conservative thought (Galston, 1991; Kirk, 1987). Moreover, in both Galston (1991) and Kirk’s (1987) articles there was no attack on capitalism and the market economy. However, the liberal idea of the need for social programs was propounded by Currie (1997), which is counter to conservative ideals. Currie (1997) also showed the need to debunk the conservative “myth” that there must always be inequalities in society. Besides these points these criminologists are really attacking capitalism and are not on a liberal or conservative platform. Furthermore, Chesney-Lind (1989) doesn’t delve into the government’s political structure based on liberal or conservative views.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Applying The Goal Of Merton 's Strain Theory

- Applying the Goal to Merton’s Strain Theory To own a home is always the desire of many people, especially migrants. But, it is easy to buy a house because it is so expensive. People have to earn a lot of money from their daily lives to buy it so that they also face to financial problems and psychological elements to get achieve their goals. In sociology, strain theory states that when individuals get their goals, they have to be under pressure of society. In addition, when they can not afford to achieve their goals and withstood the pressure at the same time, it leads to crime easily....   [tags: Sociology, Criminology, Anthropology]

Good Essays
1300 words (3.7 pages)

Strain Theory by Robert K Merton: Decriminalization of Prostitution Essay

- Robert K Merton came up with “Strain Theory” in which he argued that although Deviance can be beneficial to a society- keeping the society in order, it could also promote inequality. In our society it’s more proper for a woman to be modest about her body, the moment she defies that norm she is considered Deviant. In order to encourage a decline of inequality groups will need the help in order to reach that goal. There are many organizations that help groups that experience oppression, HIPS is an organization that helps women in sex work to be more accepted into society as human....   [tags: norms, values, pimp]

Good Essays
571 words (1.6 pages)

Essay about The Strain Theory Was Formulated By Robert K. Merton

- On December 14, 2012 a very deadly and heart wrenching incident happened in Newtown, Connecticut. The murderer was later investigated to be Adam Lanza. He was a 20 year old man who had been said to have been diagnosed with a sensory-integration disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. For Lanza, growing up could be considered arduous. He had been in and out of treatment for multiple said “diagnoses” and other undiagnosed “problems”. He also took medication for his supposed OCD. His parents often would mistake his odd behavoirs as a simple childhood or teenage stage....   [tags: Sociology, Criminology, Body dysmorphic disorder]

Good Essays
789 words (2.3 pages)

Strain Theory Developed By Robert K. Merton Essay

- Strain Theory developed by Robert K. Merton suggests that society places a sociological pressure on people to achieve certain goals appropriate or acceptable to the society. However, not all individuals in the society have the same opportunity or means to accomplish these goals. An example would be the goals of financial security in one’s lifetime in which some feel pressured and go to illegal lengths to have the goal satisfied because the pressure is too great. This could lead to burglary or selling drugs on the street for an individual who does not have the equal means to accomplish financial security....   [tags: Sociology, Criminology]

Good Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Strain Theories of Criminal Behaviour Essay

- Strain theories of criminal behaviour have been amongst the most important and influential in the field of criminology. Taking a societal approach, strain theories have sought to explain deficiencies in social structure that lead individuals to commit crime (Williams and McShane 2010). Strain theories operate under the premise that there is a societal consensus of values, beliefs, and goals with legitimate methods for achieving success. When individuals are denied access to legitimate methods for achieving success, the result is anomie or social strain....   [tags: Strain Theories of Crime]

Good Essays
2001 words (5.7 pages)

Essay about Robert Agnew Developed General Strain Theory

- Robert Agnew developed general strain theory (GST) in 1992 based off of Robert King Merton’s strain theory. The theory explains that people are pressured into crime. Agnew argues there are multiple sources of strain, which include but are not limited to; objective and subjective strains, experienced, vicarious, and anticipated strains. He also discusses which strains are most likely to lead to crime and why. Agnew believes people engage in crime because they experience strains or stressors and that crime is a type of corrective action to cope with, reduce, or escape their strains....   [tags: Criminology, Crime, Social control theory]

Good Essays
860 words (2.5 pages)

The Theories Of The Anomie And Strain Theory Essay

- 2. The leading theorists in the Anomie and Strain Theory are Émile Durkheim and Robert K. Merton. According to Reid (2012), Durkheim was born in 1858 and later died in 1919 (p. 1090. As French sociologist, Durkheim believed that “crime has functional (or positive) consequences, such as fostering flexibility” (Reid, 2012, p. 109). An excerpt from Jones (1986) notes that Durkheim grew up with a Jewish influence and later attended a rabbinical school for his early education (para. 1). Later, Durkheim broke away from Judaism later and attends college at Collège d 'Epinal, where he studied in Letter and Sciences (para....   [tags: Sociology, Crime, Criminology, Criminal justice]

Good Essays
1509 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The General Strain Theory

- Proposed Topic Exploring the role of negative emotions among murderers in a population of federal offenders: the General Strain Theory Introduction The General Strain Theory (GST) states that people who commit crimes are pressured into them by negative emotions that result from a variety of life strains. Negative emotions cause them to feel in a negative way and thus creating pressure on them to act in a variety of ways, with crime and violence being one possible response. GST has been explored among many different populations, but what has not been explored was its ability to predict crime of murder....   [tags: Psychology, Negative Emotions ]

Good Essays
2135 words (6.1 pages)

Classic Strain Theory Essay

- Classic Strain Theory, as introduced and defined by Robert Merton, is a Social Structure Theory used to help explain the effect one’s community, most notably lower class areas, has on their ability to achieve predetermined goals, usually considered culturally normal. Merton theorized that all people in a various culture and social structure have similar values, goals, and norms. He stated that within this social structure there are individuals who come from affluent upbringing and are therefore more likely achieve these goals, and most likely this will be attained through legitimate, culturally acceptable means....   [tags: Criminal Justice]

Good Essays
1454 words (4.2 pages)

Robert Merton’s Theory of Anomie Essay

- Robert Merton’s Theory of Anomie It is rightfully argued that crime, whether or not in a contemporary society, is an extremely complex and multi-faceted Phenomena that has puzzled academics for many years. Theories that aim to rationalise the causes of crime and understand the origin of criminal behaviour are often criticised for being too biased or deterministic in their research studies....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
1914 words (5.5 pages)