Social Strain Theory

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Why some people cannot escape from criminal activities while others never have any problems has been examined for decades. The study of criminology targets why individuals commit crimes and why criminals behave in certain situations. This criminology research helps to break down a true story on the film “Blow” which tells the story of George Jung, one of the most significant drug traffickers in the United States in the 1970’s. The film depicts several criminal theories on why George lived his life the way he did. This paper will explain the theories best noted in the film Blow about General Strain theory, Differential Association theory and Social Bond theory. These three theories help possibly explain why George became a criminal. General…show more content…
Merton developed social strain theory. Merton believed in the “American Dream,” but Merton realized that everyone wasn’t born with the same opportunities to attain monetary wealth and a comfortable lifestyle. According to Merton (2015), “cultural goals are widespread; the problem, however, is that the social structure restricts or eliminates access to approved modes of acquiring these symbols for a considerable part of the same population” (p.63). Directly speaking, people want to be wealthy and be able to afford a particular lifestyle. When society hinders these people from attaining wealth, either by lack of education, or lower paid jobs they will seek other means to acquire this wealth. Unfortunately, some people will select a deviant way of life. Merton states there are five adaptations of anomie, but the one that pertains most to this paper is innovation. Innovative people accept the goals of society but do not use authentic means to obtain their goals to acquire the monetary things in life that are important to…show more content…
George plainly sees that his dad has failed in his business and now older Mr. Jung is jobless. George, even though he is young, can understand that without a job, his family will struggle. George faces stress caused by the removal of positively valued stimuli, in this case being his mother. George’s mother leaves the family because she cannot handle George’s father filing bankruptcy and the family perhaps losing everything they own. Although George’s father loves his mother, the mother doesn’t have enough faith in her husband to stand by his side during this troublesome time. Furthermore, George was subjected to the strain caused by the presentation of negative stimuli. The negative stimuli would be his father losing the business, and all that encompasses. However, this may not necessarily lead directly to crime since George does not have financial obligations, but the misunderstanding from George’s youth can carry into his adulthood when George does gain financial
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