Messner And Steinfield's Institutional Anomie Theory

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This summery will canvass Messner’s and Rosenfield’s Institutional Anomie Theory. Contrary to earlier strain theories, Institutional Anomie theory (IAT) is based off a societal level of thinking, rather than an individualistic level. Messner and Rosenfeld conducted their tests using families, schools, and political institutions. It is comparable to Merton’s strain theory. Similar to Merton’s theory, Messner and Rosenfeld argue that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goal. However, IAT focuses on the concept of “the American Dream”. They state that the American dream does not keep individuals from using more efficient illegal means to achieve capital success. They argue that by creating more legitimate opportunities …show more content…
Merton proposed his own theories based off of Durkheim’s. Merton’s anomie and strain theory both seek to explain the influences of the “American Dream” and how it relates to crime and deviance. He believed that societal institutions created standards to which people recognize as “normal”, people find comfort by following those social norms and strive for normalcy. Merton also explains how achieving monetary goals, (i.e “the American Dream”), is top priority and part of the “normal” perceived by society. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same privileges and opportunities. Things like wealth and property are not so easily procured. He argues that sometimes, people’s desire to have what everyone else has pushes them to obtain capital success in other, more deviant ways (Murphy S. & Robinson M. The Maximizer: Clarifying Merton’s theories of anomie and …show more content…
During their research Messner and Rosenfeld concluded two very distinct characteristics regarding the United States. The first observation, Americans put an extremely high value on the accretion of property, compared to other countries. So much value, that things such as parental success and doing good deeds have become secondary thoughts. Their second observation was directed towards the U.S crime rates. They found that in comparison to other citizens in different countries, U.S citizens have particularly higher levels of sever crimes, notably homicide (Chamin M. & Cochran J. An evaluation of the assumptions that underlie institutional anomie

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