John Merton 's Strain Theory And Conflict Theory Essay

719 Words Oct 13th, 2016 3 Pages
Two sociological theories which are espoused in the article are Robert Merton’s Strain theory and Conflict Theory. Robert Merton’s strain theory deals with two aspects of why deviance occurs: 1) the goals society sets up for people to achieve and 2) the means one must have in order for the attainment of these goals. The strain theory suggests that not everyone is equal; meaning that not everyone has the same opportunity to attain the “legitimate” means to achieve goals and be successful. According to Merton, there are five types of deviance; conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion. While both the conformist and innovator accept the goals of society, the innovator rejects the legitimate means to achieve the goal. On the other hand, the ritualist and retreatist do not accept the goals but the ritualist accepts means to achieve the goals while the retreatist does not. Lastly, the rebel does not accept the goals and rejects the means to achieve them, choosing to create their own. In the context of this article, the people in Hobbema are faced with poverty and substandard conditions (i.e. housing shortages, bad roads and malfunctioning street lamps); along with “blocked opportunities”, which prevents them from accessing the legitimate means to achieve societal goals. The people which the article focuses on, can be considered to be innovators in accordance to Merton’s strain theory. By dealing drugs, these individuals have accepted the goal of making money and…

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