Understanding the Similarities to Strain Theory and General Theory of Crime

3109 Words 13 Pages
Understanding the similarities of Strain Theory,
General Theory of Crime

Angela Sampson # 2396467
Sociology 345: Social Control
Professor: James Chriss
Cleveland State University
April 30th 2012

The purpose is to identify the similarities between Strain theories, and General Theory of Crime. Strain was developed from the work of Durkheim and Merton and taken from the theory of anomie. Durkheim focused on the decrease of societal restraint and the strain that resulted at the individual level, and Merton studied the cultural imbalance that exists between goal and the norms of the individuals of society. “General Theory of Crime”, In 1990 Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi wrote the book “A General
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This type of status differs culturally, but in order for an individual to prove their masculinity, they may resort to crime to achieve that status. Traits that are associated with masculinity are often displayed through criminal behavior. Autonomy, the power over oneself, is the third type of goal that is valued in a society. Strain induced by autonomy mainly affects adolescents and the lower class because of their position in society. Agnew proposed that the need for autonomy can result in delinquency and crime, as the individual tried to assert autonomy, achieve autonomy, and relieve frustration against those who have denied the individual autonomy (Agnew, 1992). Strain from the outside environment can cause many negative feelings in an individual including defeat, despair, and fear, but the feeling that is most applicable to crime is anger (Agnew, 1992:59). Agnew asserted that individuals become angry when they blame their negative circumstances and relationships on others (Agnew, 1992:59). Anger was found to incite a person to action, lower inhibitions, and create a desire for revenge (Agnew, 1992:60). Anger and frustration may also enable the individual to justify crime (Agnew, 1995b:390). Agnew especially stressed that individuals who are subject to repetitive strain may be more likely to commit crime or delinquent acts (Agnew, 1992:60). This is due to the fact that other coping strategies for the strain are taxed, the threshold for

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