Robert Merton Strain Theory

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However, Becker’s ‘labelling theory’ has been criticised for a number of reasons. Robert K. Merton founded the ‘strain theory’ in which he argues that certain strains or tensions upon people are more likely to lead them to engaging in crime when they cannot get what they desire through legitimate means. Rather than looking at the societal reactions to crime, Merton explains deviance through the nature of society and how the structure of society generates deviance, whilst looking at the frustration or anger the deviant might obtain whilst trying to reach the shared goals within the culture. Merton’s work in “Social structure and anomie”, from McLaughlin, E. & Muncie, J. (2013) Criminological perspectives, 3rd ed., London: Sage, pp.74-84) outlines
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