Merton's Theory Of Gang Formation

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This paper draws on existing sociological research in identifying a number of theories used in explaining the formation of gangs. The theories discussed are social structure theories, social conflict theory, and social process theories all of which highlight elements of strain in different forms as they relates to gang formation.
According to Merton, (as cited in Schneider & Tilly, 2004) structural theories significantly emphasize the role of social and economic structures as the causes of delinquent behavior and tend to treat criminal behavior as the result of the undesirable and dysfunctional structures (P. 3.).
Many strain theorists recognize that the greatest amount of strain is evident in the lower class groups (Hagan, 2008; Siegel, 2011; …show more content…

In contrast although the strain theories explain some reasons why youths join gangs it does not explain why most youths do not join gangs even though they experience the same …show more content…

Merton’s Anomie theory lent credence to various subculture theories such as Albert Cohen’s lower class reaction theory, Cohen suggests “formation of delinquent gangs is the result of status deprivation” (Hagan, 2008. P.151). According to Cohen, (1955.) The boys who became part of gangs aspire toward standards that were opposite to those of the middle class, meaning “lower class reaction to middle class values”, Cohen explains the delinquent culture produced by gang involvement as not done to achieve monetary success, but rather status within the gang (Cohen, 1955. P.

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