Agnew's Strain Theory In There Are No Children Here

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Agnew’s General Strain Theory in There Are No Children Here
Introduction
Throughout this semester, we have covered various criminological theories along with their strengths and limitations. These theoretical perspectives provide possible explanations to why individuals commit crimes. In addition to, these theories are indirectly woven within cultural objects such as song lyrics, movies, books, and television. For my cultural object, I chose to analyze a book titled; There Are No Children Here, that encompasses a variety of criminological theories. However, in this paper I will examine how Merton/Agnew’s strain theory and its assumptions are illustrated within the context and characters in this book. Specifically, I will focus on Lafeyette,
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Summary of There are No Children Here There are No Children Here is a biography written by Alex Kotlowitz that takes a look at the experiences of two brothers,…show more content…
In his strain theory, Agnew identifies several other sources of strain besides Merton’s disjunction between goals and means (Hemmens & Walsh, 2014). In this perspective, strain includes the negative emotions that arise from social relationships. According to Agnew, strain occurs when from the removal of positively valued stimuli such as the loss of a romantic partner, the presentation of negative stimuli such as negative school experiences and the prevention or a threat to prevent an individual from obtaining a positively valued goal (Hemmens & Walsh, 2014). In the case of Lafeyette, his strain came from all three sources. The removal of positively valued stimuli for him was losing Terrence to prison and his two friends to death (Kotlowitz, 1991). For Lafeyette, the presentation of negative stimuli would be having an overcrowded household, having to duck and cover when random shootings between gangs happen on a daily basis, and watching his father come in and out of the apartment drunk (Kotlowitz, 1991). Lastly, Lafeyette’s environment, Henry Horner, and financial strain would be the prevention keeping him from obtaining his dream. Not only is strain objective and subjective but it can also arise from anticipation. Despite everyone experiences multiple strains, the impact of the strain differs by its magnitude,
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