Analysis Of Merton's Strain Theory

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Merton’s Strain Theory is the generalization of Durkheim’s ideas of anomie. Merton argued that the real problem behind anomie is a product of society itself. Merton’s strain theory argues that our society sets up certain goals such as wanting success, money and power but does not always provide everyone with the same means to reach those goals. He believed that socially accepted goals put pressure on people to accept. He said that there are five responses to the strain: conformist, innovation, ritualist, retreatist and rebellion. Conformists represents those who share societies success goals and institutional means. Innovation are the working class who share societies success goals but lack the institutional means so they commit crime. Ritualist …show more content…
Functionalist argue that crime and deviance is useful and necessary in society. Functionalist approach mentions that it helps to reinforce values, norms and behaviors of the majority non-deviant population, through disapproval which only forms social agreement. It also acts as a social progress which allows for social changes to occur ensuring for societies norms, values and laws stay in line with the common view. Not all deviant behaviors are illegal or harmful to others. In some cases it may be looked as deviant because it is not considered a social norm, but it can also be looked upon as a positive favorable change that can lead to social change. Cultures and societies have a significant impact on what is considered deviant and what is acceptable or even lawful behavior. The strain theory takes a look at what causes a person to commit a crime. It can be said that although Functionalist theories do go a long way in explaining the reasons for crime and deviance, they do leave a lot to be asked about. Specially through failing to take into account of the power associated to law making. Strain theory applies best to lower classes as they “struggle” with the lack of resources to achieve their goals. However, if we take a look at the deviant/criminal acts, for crimes beyond street crimes; crimes considered as white-collar crimes are more rampant among the

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