Robert Agnew created general strain theory (GST). According to Agnew general strain theory is a hypothesis to explain why offenders have committed crime due to pressures or strain on them to counteract negative emotions. Agnew defines strains as any sort of situation that causes stress on the individual. This could be death in the family assault, loss of job, injury, financial hardships, or something else. There are two types of strains he focuses on.
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).
An example of the factor of strain theory is that it would be if an adolescent loses a part in a play because the main characters are a different race even if the teenager was the better actor. In this example, the adolescent experienced a loss of positive stimuli and the adolescent might feel a great amount of strain and believe the only way to get rid of stress is to release their stress into a delinquent act. The loss of positive stimuli can really affect juveniles especially if they do not know how to deal with the loss in a legal way. Also according to strain theorists, before losing positive stimuli the juvenile might try to find ways to prevent losing the positive stimuli. This component of strain theory could lead to revenge on the cause of the loss of stimuli or drug use to eliminate the stress.
Merton. The theory states that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (such as the American dream) though they lack the means, this leads to strain which may lead the individuals to commit crimes. Two major concerns in strain theory are the sources of the strain, stress or how people adapt to the strain. Positivism are theories of social and structure are strain theories.
Timothy Brezina analyses the development of general strain theory by reviewing classical theories and it addresses the limitation of those theories. It goes in-depth to explain different strain theories and their founders such as Merton, Cohen, and Cloward and Ohlin who were influential through the 20th century. The source also explains the relationship between strain and offending and offers an extensive list of references. Iratzoqui, Amaia (04/2018).
While a few theories are not as regular, others have developed and are utilized as a part of numerous criminal reviews today. Cutting edge criminologists consolidate the most important aspects of sociology, psychology, anthropology, and biological theories to advance their comprehension of criminal behavior. Rational choice theory, psychological, biological, and strain theory are used to analyze the
There are different beliefs within the strain theory, but as stated before, strain theory was developed around the belief that deviant behavior arises as a response to a problem that the individual cannot fix. The original strain theory was started by Robert Merton. He too believed that deviance occurred as a way to solve a problem. He believed this happened when the individual conflicted with societal values. In response to the cause of alcoholism, according to Merton one becomes an alcoholic when they choose to reject society’s goals and approved way of achieving these goals.
In the movie Scarface we view go in depth about some life events of Cuban refugee Tony Montana when he enters the United States and receives his green card. We also see what leads him to his criminal activities of becoming a national drug lord. In this film there are a number of different theories that can be applied. I will be using Cornish and Clarkes Rational Choice Theory, along with Robert Agnew’s Strain theory in order to analyze Tony’s reasoning behind committing these crimes. I will be using examples from the film Scarface in order to draw and link these theories with the film.
Gang warfare among teenagers and youth adults As per strain theory teenagers and young adults partake in gang warfare resulting from their inability to reach their personal aspirations and as a result they conform to different ways of achieving such success. iv. Embezzlement of $100,000 by a bank employee Using strain theory, the embezzlement can be explained
However, in the book, Criminology the authors have stated, “…Strain theory states that social structures within society may pressure citizens to commit crime” (Adler, G.M., & Laufer W, 2010, p.105). With the increasing stress, the child needs diapers and the parent has no money and enters Walmart, decides to steal a box of diapers, and is caught in the parking lot. The conflict theorist
Why do people commit crimes? What goes through their minds before they actually commit a crime? These are questions asked from society to criminologist every time one decides they want to commit a crime. Criminologists has given us different crime causations, theories, to explain the answer to these questions. A theory is a speculation about how phenomena, behavior, or process are caused and what takes place after the cause is determined (Anderson, 2015).
In 1985 Robert Agnew a sociologist come to an interest of studying the theory and finds a potential for the theory in explaining several causes of crime in society, but due to its limitation he developed and reformulated the theory to widen its dimension or scope. After revising the theory he come up into General strain theory of crime and builds its foundation in 1992. General strain theory argues that frustrations and anger leads someone to deviance and may result into committing a crime (Agnew, 1992). GST defines strains as negative life events and conditions which are commonly disliked by the people who experience it or negative experiences of a person in a given group (Agnew, 1992; 2001; 2006). Strain is often classified in two distinct types, the Objective Strain and the Subjective Strain.
Criticism of Merton’s Strain Theory One critique of the strain theory is how it overemphasis the position of the social class in regards to crime and deviance. As we know, the strain theory applies mainly to the American lower class as they struggle the most. Our lower class are faced with the lack of resources to help them reconcile their goals. However, by looking at the variation of deviant and criminal behavior, the strain theory does not adequately account for any type of crimes besides the normal street or neighborhood crimes.
The structural strain theory was developed by sociologist Robert K. Merton as part of the functionalist perspective. Strain occurs when individuals find it hard to achieve cultural goals through institutionalized means (Merton, 1938). This theory suggests that there are five responses to strain, which include conformity, ritualism, innovation, retreatism and rebellion (Andersen and Taylor, 2009). The responses are developed based on two factors, which are, first, whether the individual accepts or rejects the cultural goals of the society and second, whether the individual accepts or rejects the instituitionalized means of achieving them. To understand this theory, we first have to understand what cultural goals and the institutionalized means of achieving them mean.