General Strain Theory In Criminology

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Theories are used every day to try and explain how something works or even why it works that way. In criminology, theories are constantly being created and used to help explain many things such as why crime occurs. Social structural theories specifically are used to explain how the organization of society affects why people commit crime and social process theories focus on the social relationships and interactions of people and how that leads to committing crime or not. One sub theory of social structural theory is the general strain theory created by criminologist Robert Agnew which explains that there are multiple sources of strain, such as the loss of loved on, that can lead to crime. A sub theory for social process theory is the social learning theory, created by Ronald Akers, that focuses on punishment and reinforcement and how that leads to criminal behavior. With these two sub theories, there are similarities such as what they are used to explain which is why individuals commit crime, but there are differences as well such as the methods they use to explain.
General Strain Theory [Theory A]

The General Strain
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He focused on the cultural idea of the "American Dream", and thought that was the motivation for most people and if people couldn't obtain what they wanted, the strain would cause them to commit crime. "Our primary aim lies in discovering how some social structures exert a definite pressure upon certain persons in the society to engage in nonconformist rather than conformist conduct" (Reading 10, 1938). Merton thought that society had a shared dream yet had different opportunities allowing for crime if the strain was too much. The difference between Agnew's general strain theory and Merton's strain theory is that Agnew added more sources of strain such as losing a loved one and didn't believe that finical success was the only

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