Emile Durkheim's Theory Of Anomie And Strain Theory

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Anomie and strain theories are macro-level theories that explain how criminal behavior occurs when opportunities for success are blocked. These theories state the people usually are compliant and change to follow cultural norms and rules under normal conditions. In order for individuals to commit crime, they must be motivated, and the motivation to do so varies.
Historical Origins of Classical Strain Theory
Émile Durkheim first introduced his theory of anomie in his writing Suicide (1897/1951). He stated that society caused strain that was felt in individuals due to a frustration of wants. Certain events lead to strains. Strains according to Durkheim is a difference between certain desires and the assumption that those desires will be met. Strain then leads to anomie, which is a state of normlessness in society. When these social standards are broken down in society, it then leads to either suicide or deviance.
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In a mechanical society there is a sense of togetherness with commonly shared beliefs and values among members of the community, with each individual having their own role. In an organic society, advancements and modernizations are made and individuals tend to specialize in one field, therefore making individuals rely on each other more heavily. This shift from a mechanical society to an organic society created a dissemination of labor which resulted in a breakdown of regulation, which lead to a state of anomie. Moving to an organic society also changed the goals that members of society previously wished to achieve leading to a sense of normlessness as well. Durkheim makes a point that crime is normal in society, and high rates of crime are a direct result of anomie or normlessness in

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