Strain Theory Definition

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Strain Theory Definition

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6.2 Merton Strain Theory

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The other adaptation that might lead to criminal behaviour is rebellion: some people might want to replace the means and the goals with new ones and this could, in some cases, lead to illegal protest or political violence. While Durkheim's concept of anomie was rather vague, Merton explains the idea in quite a detailed way: as the product of a strain between socially-accepted goals and the socially-accepted means to achieve them. While Merton's theory was based on 20 th century America, it is transferable to any contemporary, western, developed capitalist society. Merton does not consider the source of social goals, nor in whose interests society is socialised into believing. Marxists would argue that the former is bourgeois ideology; that the latter is in the interests of capitalism.

Everyone wants money to purchase consumer goods; they're also socialised into believing the best way to achieve that goal is to work extra hard for their bosses. This is not a value consensus ensuring social solidarity, of the sort that functionalists describe, but rather capitalist ideology or hegemony, serving the interests of the bourgeoisie at the expense of the proletariat. Nor does Merton spend any time considering why some people find it harder to achieve society's goals than others. He does not pursue the idea that inequality and unequal opportunities in society are a social problem, nor what the cause of that problem might be.

Similarly, Merton does not consider why different people have different adaptations. While many people feel that the socially-accepted means to achieve their goals are too difficult, only a small number of them go on to commit crimes. What makes the majority law-abiding most of the time? Are there sociological explanations for some people choosing to innovate while others retreat? Merton does not provide us with answers to those questions. Continuing from the previous point, Merton does not explain why groups of people are deviant in the same way.

These strains lead to negative emotions, such as frustration and anger. These emotions create pressure for corrective action, and crime is one possible response. How does strain theory explain deviance? Strain Theory of Deviance Strain theory, developed by sociologist Robert Merton, posits that when people are prevented from achieving culturally approved goals through institutional means, they experience strain or frustration that can lead to deviance.

What are the criminological theories? Theoretical perspectives used in criminology include psychoanalysis, functionalism, interactionism, Marxism, econometrics, systems theory, postmodernism, genetics, neuropsychology, evolutionary psychology, etc. What are the three branches of social structure theory? Chapter Summary Three subtypes of social structure theories can be identified: social disorganization theory, strain theory, and culture conflict theory. What is the structural strain theory? Social strain theory was developed by famed American sociologist Robert K.

The theory states that social structures may pressure citizens to commit crimes. Strain may be structural, which refers to the processes at the societal level that filter down and affect how the individual perceives his or her needs. What is strain explain? Strain is the response of a system to an applied stress. When a material is loaded with a force, it produces a stress, which then causes a material to deform. Engineering strain is defined as the amount of deformation in the direction of the applied force divided by the initial length of the material.

What are the key propositions of strain theory? This edited volume features an introduction and eight chapters that test, apply, and extend strain and anomie theories—often by linking them to concepts in other areas, such as reference groups, identity, organizations, social capital, and social support. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page.

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Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" section about About Related Articles close popup. Your current browser may not support copying via this button. Introduction Strain theories state that certain strains or stressors increase the likelihood of crime. General Overviews Strain theories are among the leading theories of crime and so are routinely discussed in textbooks, handbooks, and encyclopedia dealing with crime theories. How to Subscribe Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. Jump to Other Articles:.

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