Theories Of Crime And Criminal Behavior Essay

2046 Words Sep 30th, 2016 9 Pages
Theories regarding crime and criminal behavior are as numerous as they are varied. From criminological theories based around an individual’s biological make-up to theories revolving around external forces, such as societal or economic pressures; criminological theorists have found various different ways in which to explain criminal activities and behaviors. Perhaps one of the most interesting and impactful theories regarding crime is one that is known as strain theory, particularly the ideas discussed by theorist Robert K. Merton. Developed by theorist Robert K. Merton, strain theory looks at how an individual may turn to crime as a means of achieving goals that he/she has no legitimate means of achieving (Schmalleger, 2009). One of the most basic examples of this theory, would be a minor with no legitimate form of income shoplifting an item they want from a store, thus committing a crime as a means of achieving the goal to receive whatever he/she shoplifted. Obviously this example is the simplest way of viewing the strain theory in the real world; there are many different factors which make-up Merton’s theory which will be explored. At the center of strain theory is strain, or the pressure one feels to achieve socially set goals (Schmalleger, 2009). This theory revolves around the ways in which an individual resolves this pressure or strain, whether that be through legitimate means (socially accepted means) or illegitimate means (means not accepted by the overarching…

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