Analysis Of Merton's Anomie Theory

1935 Words8 Pages
In order to understand Cloward and Ohlin’s Theory of Differential Opportunity we must go back to its roots and by that I mean a brief look at Merton’s Anomie Theory which was its starting point. Merton stated that all societies have values, goals people must achieve and that in the USj the main goal is to have financial success and so all Americans have as top aim being rich. Besides values, all societies have norms, social rules that are the means of achieving the goals. Sometimes, people have the goals and the means, other times they don’t have one or both of them, and so Merton identifies different modes of adaptation to that social pressure: conformity, when people have the values and the means; ritualism, having the norms but not having the values; innovation, having the values but not the means; retrealism, not having either the norms or the values; and rebellion, rejecting both the norms and the values and trying to exchange them into other ones they find more suitable. The most important one for crime is the innovation, when people have the values, they want to succeed, want to become rich and fulfill the American Dream, but don’t have the means to get to that, have barriers and lack of possibilities that won’t let them achieve the goals they and all American society wants. This disjunction between goals and means causes the anomie, the breakdown of norms, the social disorganization and deviance referred by Durkheim. Not having legitimate ways of becoming rich and
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