Introduction The two most important components of societies are the social structure and culture. Culture deeply influences an individual 's beliefs, values, goals as well as his identity. Cultural goals are developed in accordance with the existing social structure of the society. The social structure of a society must provide the 'means ' for an individual to achieve his cultural goals. However, the social structure often fails in providing the means, thereby creating an imbalance in the fulfillment of the cultural goals. This imbalance that stems from the lack of necessary means to achieve socially accepted cultural goals leads to structural strain. The Strain Theory was propounded by Robert …show more content…
The phenomena that Merton 's theory indicates towards can be successfully explained with the help of an example of how people achieve or strive to achieve economic success. For instance, in the U.S which has a capitalist system, everybody is motivated to attain financial profitability for a greater sense of positive identity. There are two legally approved ways of accomplishing this task, education and work. However, not everyone may have access to equal opportunities because of brokered access or discrimination on the basis of class, gender, race, sexuality etc. that is prevalent in most societies (Broidy & Agnew,1997). This leads to an unequal distribution of means among people belonging to the same society and having similar aspirations. This lack of accessibility to available means encourages deviant behaviour among people to attain their cultural goals. Such people then resort to deviant activities that violate social norms such as theft and embezzlement, to fulfill their economic goals and cultural ambitions. Individuals who are oppressed or those that are marginalized by the society are most likely to indulge in such unsanctioned activities to achieve economic success as even they have similar cultural and economic goals as the rest of the people in the society. This example validates Merton 's theory that a society which fails to provide adequate and equal means to all the people creates a strain on the less privileged and limits their scope for success through socially accepted means. A good example of this is the Black Lives Matter Movement (2014-15) which demanded equal means and respect for all. The movement adopted a violent tone as a means to accomplish its
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Much later in history, the Civil Rights Movement would prove this as much of the leaders for this era believed that non-violence is the key to change. Most prominently in the early days of the movement was on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks famously (and calmly) refused to give her seat on a bus to a standing white passenger (Clayborne 444-445). She reflects on this by saying “I had paid my fair and occupied my seat, I didn’t think I should have to give it up.” (Finkenbine 180) Consequently, she was arrested, which caused great ire among the Black community.
For the general strain theory, the main limitations was the possible variation in evaluating an event or stimulus as a life strain or not. Gacy’s interpretation on what events and stimulus were strains on his life would be unknown, so it cannot be determined if a life strain is the reason Gacy committed crime. Though Gacy had strains at home within his family, it is allegedly said Gacy was quite popular in school. This means he would have had good bonds with his peers, but there is not enough evidence to show it could have made a difference. Lastly, Gacy’s childhood seemed apparent to have a vast amount of strains, however, when he became older, he left his family.
Peaceful resistance begins with one person or group battling an injustice, like Rosa Parks who inspired others to protest segregation during the Civil Right’s Movement. Protesters must next raise awareness about the issue and invite others to protest with them so that the issue can be “brought out in the open where it can be seen and dealt with”(Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”). As the movement grows, the government is forced to comply with the demands to change the law, the result of King’s effort against segregation. Once that law is changed, the government is altered to accommodate that change, leading to greater changes in the nation’s morals and ideals. These changes are then able to influence how others perceive those issues and may subsequently influence other nations to change their governments.
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.
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).
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.
When we look at sociological theories and perspectives, this falls directly in line with the social conflict theory. Social conflict theory states, “social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict between competing groups (“Module 1- The Social Sciences, n.d.”).” This conflict then creates an inequality, “when members of a society have different amounts of wealth, power, and prestige (“ Module 1-
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.
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.
Wealth, race, gender, and mental illness has torn society apart and lead to inequality. These major reasons for inequality has affected everyone in its path leading to major consequences as well as issues and problems. In China, a new found wealth has left the social classes more divided and issues are beginning to rise. Meanwhile in the U.S., wealth is destroying students and unequal views toward specific types of people are weakening the patriotic bond. To begin, there are many types and factors that play a part in inequality and the consequences of societies from it, but one of the main reasons and apparent factors is wealth.
Strain and Deviance: an empirical test of General Strain Theory of in a Philippine Public University LITERATURE REVIEW Theoretical Background During the past decades, various criminologists developed different theories in an attempt to explain the causes of crime within the society. In return they were successful, as of today it was adopted or accepted, indeed all of theories explain the root causes of crime. One of these theories is anomie or strain theory which originally argues that the lower class frustration to higher class causes crime (Merton, 1938) in attempt to explain why majority of the people who commits crime are lower class.
Strain theory is a crime theory that was developed by Robert Merton, an American sociologist. According to Robert, strain can be defined as the discrepancies that result from the goals that are culturally defined in reference to the means that are institutionalized and available to meet the set goals. As proposed by Merton, there exists a typological deviance that is based on two criteria; an individual’s belief in how the goals should be attained and an individual’s adherence or motivation to cultural goals. According to the theory, certain stressors or strains are responsible in increasing the likelihood of crime activities around the world.
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.
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. One of the central theories of the juvenile delinquency is the anomie theory that is rooted in the early studies by the sociologist Emile Durkheim.
Culture is defined by characteristics that are shared by a group of people. It is usually represented by language, religion, cuisine, traditional clothes, music, arts, and is dependent on social habits. Therefore, culture plays a major role in an individual’s perspective of life and his/her personality. Cultures have differed than each other, depending on the places they were established in, the way of survival people pursued to acclimate with different circumstances, and how they shared their experiences with each other.