Two of the most important concepts are the Strain theory by Robert K. Merton and General Strain theory by Robert Agnew. Strain theory describes that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goes such as the American dream. Though they lack the means to have the American dream, which leads to strain, but might lead to the individuals to commit crimes. On the other hand, Robert Agnew’s General theory describes as seeing crime as a coping mechanism to help people deal with socioemotional problems that are generated by negative social relations. Each member of society has similar goals and aspirations.
Decrease exposure to strain. Although it is impossible to eliminate all exposure to strain, by focusing on the strains identified by GST’s strain criteria (e.g., unjust, high in magnitude, low in social control, create pressure or incentive to engage in crime), policy interventions can be implemented in an attempt to decrease identified strains (Agnew, 2013). For example, parent training and school based programs can be instituted to reduce the strain disciplinary actions are enforced to adolescents and decrease the potential for criminal
Additionally, crimes that are considered as being white collar, in which they are known in our middle and upper-classes. The General Strain Theory Robert Agnew proposed and formulated the general strain theory. Agnew’s general strain theory primarily focuses on the micro-level definitions of crime and the relationship it has with delinquency. By doing this, Robert Agnew made a notation of the effects that a person 's social environment and the position it plays in the determination of crime.
His areas of study are Juvenile delinquency, Youth violence and Criminological theory. The main argument of the source is that General strain theory provides and explanation of crime and delinquency and that it is the latest and broadest form of strain theory. General Strain Theory represents a revision and extension of prior strain theories. “General strain theory is distinguished from other criminological theories by the central role it assigns to negative emotions in the etiology of offending. It is also distinguished by the emphasis it places on particular strains, especially strains involving negative social relations “ (Brezina, 2018).
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.
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.
There are many theories that suggest that crime is constructed socially, or is a product of the society in which the crime is committed. One such theory, proposed by Robert Merton, is known as strain theory. While strain theory is a useful model for explaining how societal values can drive people to commit crimes, it has several flaws and does not focus on how laws are made and how this contributes to the formation of crime. While Merton suggests that laws are created from consensus within a society, it will be argued that strain theory can also support the idea that laws are a “product of conflict” (Hagan 5). Strain theory is founded on the idea that the goals of a society and the accepted means of achieving said goal causes strain that can
a. Use Strain Theory to define and explain the following: i. The theft of a loaf of bread by a hungry person Using strain theory, the theft of a loaf of bread by a hungry person can be explained as a situation where an individual employs different means of success of getting fed, one that is against the agreeable ways in the society of getting money and feeding themselves. ii. Alcoholics Using strain theory, an alcohol has ultimately rejected the society’s goals of conforming to the societal values such as happiness and a stable job, such an individual essentially rejects the goals because they have been ultimately been unable to live up to the society’s standards. iii.
The set of the structural-functional theories are among the most widespread perspectives on the juvenile delinquency. The group of the theories regards that the behavior of the underage delinquent is caused by the breakdown of the social process that consequently results in the increase of conformity (Thompson & Bynum, 2016). The group of theories presumably blame institutions that are responsible for the socialization of the young delinquents for the way the socialize the individuals by causing them to conform to the values of the society.
Agnew’s General Strain Theory in There Are No Children Here Introduction Throughout this semester, we have covered various criminological theories along with their strengths and limitations. These theoretical perspectives provide possible explanations to why individuals commit crimes. In addition to, these theories are indirectly woven within cultural objects such as song lyrics, movies, books, and television.
Families that are poor or have a low income are more likely to commit crimes for the purpose of their own needs to survive. “It is a fact that neighborhoods where the poor are concentrated are more prone to high crime rates, and poor residents are the most common victims of crimes” (1). The best explanation for this is that poorer people have the same needs as a regular middle-class citizen. The poor citizens need certain things to help him or her live a healthy life, such as healthcare, food stamps, and more employment options. One may argue that healthcare is too expensive and that food stamps have been taken away from many people.
Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, or youth crime, is participation in illegal behavior by minors (juveniles) (individuals younger than the statutory age of majority). Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers, and courts. A juvenile delinquent is a person who is typically under the age of 18 and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged as a crime if they were an adult. Depending on the type and severity of the offense committed, it is possible for persons under 18 to be charged and tried as adults .
Merton’s point of view was that America produced a state of anomie because of the greater emphasis on the goals of wealth at the expense of the conventional ways of going about attaining economic success. By 1968, Merton was clarifying his strain theory by arguing for a perspective that views socially deviant behavior, including criminal behavior as a product of social structure (Tibbetts and Hemmons, 2010). The social structure, for Merton, had to do with approved social means. While people can put forth an honest effort to attain the American Dream, Americans are more likely to do whatever it takes to get ahead.
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
Poverty’s effects on crime can be explained through a variety of reasons. There is a higher rate of mental illness among the poor than the rich. Poverty can lead to high levels of stress, which in turn drive individuals to commit theft, robbery or other violent acts. Moreover, poverty may lead to actual or perceived inferior education. Youth with less access to quality schools, jobs, and role models and opportunities end up spending time on the streets associating with gangs.