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Strain Theories. Anomie Merton’s Theory General Strain Theory Institutional Anomie Theory Relative Deprivation Theory. Strain Theory: R.K.Merton. Merton used Durkheim's idea about anomie Anomie is the state of normlessness Rules of behaviour have broken down Rapid social change

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strain theories

Strain Theories

Anomie

Merton’s Theory

General Strain Theory

Institutional Anomie Theory

Relative Deprivation Theory

strain theory r k merton
Strain Theory: R.K.Merton.
  • Merton used Durkheim's idea about anomie
  • Anomie is the state of normlessness
  • Rules of behaviourhave broken down
  • Rapid social change
  • Personal life crisis
  • Egoistic, altruistic, and anomic suicide
egoisitic suicide
Egoisitic suicide
  • Egoisitic suicide resulted from too little social integration
  • Durkheim discovered was that of unmarried people, particularly males, committed suicide at higher rates than married people
altruistic suicide
Altruistic suicide
  • Altruistic suicide, is a result of too much integration
  • Individuals are so integrated into social groups that they lost sight of their individuality and became willing to sacrifice themselves to the group's interests
  • The most common cases of altruistic suicide occurred among members of the military
anomic suicide
Anomic suicide
  • Sudden changes on the microsocial and macrosocial levels
  • War, crisis, divorce, death, unemployment
strain theory r k merton6
Strain Theory: R.K.Merton.
  • “Anomie is a state wherein society fails to exercise adequate regulation of the goals and desires of individual members” (p.165)
  • in American society, there is a disjunction between the socially-produced and encouraged ends or goals and the means through which they could achieve these desirable ends
strain theory r k merton7
Strain Theory: R.K.Merton.
  • In simple terms, they were socialised into the "American Dream" of health, wealth, personal happiness
  • American society is structured to ensure that the vast majority of people could never realistically attain these ends through the means that American society provided in legitimate ways - hard work
merton s theory
Merton’s theory
  • Because of this tension anomie occurs
  • In a situation whereby people desired success - yet were effectively denied it - he argued that people would find other, probably less legitimate, means towards desired ends.
merton s typology
Merton’s typology
  • Merton elaborated five basic responses to the anomic situation which he claimed to see in American society
  • He classified these types ofconformity and deviance in terms of acceptance and denial of basic ends and means
merton s conformity
Merton’s Conformity

Conformity applies to the law-abiding citizen

These people accept both socially-produced ends and the socially-legitimated means to achieve them

merton s innovation
Merton’s Innovation
  • Innovation is deviant behaviour that uses illegitimate means to achieve socially acceptable goals
  • Drug crimes, property crimes

and some white collar crimes would

be examples of innovation

merton s ritualism
Merton’s Ritualism
  • 3. Ritualism might refer to someone who conforms to socially-approved means, but has lost sight of the ends (or has come to accept that they will never achieve them)
  • Such people are likely to be elderly and they probably enjoy a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.
merton s retreatism
Merton’s Retreatism

An example of retreatism is someone who "drops-out" of mainstream society. The drug addict who retreats into a self-contained world, the alcoholic who is unable to hold-down a steady job

assessment
Assessment
  • Monetary success is the only one motive mentioned by Merton
  • Some criminals are engaged into deviant activities for no apparent reason (enjoyable)
  • White collar crime is not explained
  • If the strains of life really operates as suggested by Merton, why it is most member of society engage in law-abiding activities
robert agnew s general strain theory 1992
Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory (1992)
  • Original strain theory predicted a concentration of delinquent behavior in the lower class (monetary strain, status frustration)
  • Research proved that delinquency was also common in the middle and upper classes (monetary strain cannot explain)
robert agnew s general strain theory
Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory
  • Strain for Agnew is neither structural nor interpersonal, but emotional
  • Perception of an adverse environment will lead to strongly negative emotions that motivate one to engage in crime
robert agnew
Robert Agnew
  • Believes that Anger has a significant impact on all measures of crime and deviance

Strain

ANGER

Criminal

Behavior

robert agnew s gst
Robert Agnew’s GST
  • Expands on traditional strain theory
  • Include all types of negative relations b/w an individual and others
  • GST maintains that strain is likely to have a cumulative effect on delinquency after reaching a certain threshold
anger in your life
Anger in your life
  • Can you think of an negative event that made you very angry?
  • How did you cope with anger?
  • Who helped you to cope with your anger?
  • How often do you experience anger?
three major types of strain
Three major types of strain
  • Failure to achieve positively valued goals (gap between expectations and actual achievements, not always long-term)
  • Loss of positive stimuli (experiencing the stressful impact felt before and after moving, death of a relative/close friend)
  • Presentation of negative stimuli (peer pressure, physical /emotional abuse)
links between strain and crime
Links Between Strain and Crime
  • Anger was found to incite a person to action, lower inhibitions, and create a desire for revenge
  • Agnew especially stressed that individuals who are subject to repetitive strain may be more likely to commit crime
sources of strain
Sources of Strain
  • Social sources of strain (negative interactions with other people)
  • Community sources of strain (some communities increase the likelihood that people get angry and frustrated and can be more prone to crime
  • community level factors: economic deprivation, family disruption, fear of crime, child abuse, over crowding, bad housing)
coping strategies other than crime
Coping Strategies Other Than Crime
  • Crime is not the only way that people will respond to strain
  • There are three different types of coping strategies that enable the individual to deal with the strain in their life through legitimate means
  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Behavioral
cognitive coping strategies
Cognitive coping strategies
  • Enable the individual to rationalize the stressors in three ways (Agnew, 1992)
  • Minimize the importance of the strain by placing less importance on a particular goal
  • Maximizing the positive while minimizing the negative outcomes of an event. This is an attempt to ignore the fact that there has been a negative event
  • Accept the outcomes of the negative outcomes as fair
behavioral coping strategies
Behavioral coping strategies
  • Individuals may actively seek out positive stimuli (Social supports from friends and relatives)
  • Try to escape negative stimuli. In addition, individuals may actively seek out revenge in a nondelinquent manner (Agnew, 1992:69)
emotional coping strategies
Emotional coping strategies
  • Relaxation methods
  • Sport
  • Meditation
determinants of delinquent behavior
Determinants of Delinquent Behavior
  • If the initial goals and values of a person are high and they have few alternative goals to fall back on, then the person may be more prone to committing delinquent acts (beauty queen)
  • Bad temper, previous delinquent behavior, delinquent friends
agnew s theory
Agnew’s Theory

Factors affecting

disposition to delinquency

Strain

ANGER

Criminal Behavior

Constraints to delinquent

behavior

male versus female strain and crime
Male Versus Female Strain and Crime
  • Males and females have been found to experience different types of strain and different emotions
sex differences in coping strategies
Sex differences in coping strategies
  • Research indicated that females employ escape and avoidance methods to relieve the strain
  • Females may, however, have stronger relational ties that might help to reduce strain (social support)
  • Males are lower in social control, and they socialize in large, hierarchical peer groups where they need to maintain their status
  • Females form close social bonds in small groups
  • Therefore, males are more likely to respond to strain with crime (Agnew 1997).
policy recommendations
Policy Recommendations
  • Agnew proposed several different programs to reduce delinquency which have shown success after being implemented
policy recommendations34
Policy Recommendations
  • Family-based programs are designed to teach the members how to solve problems in a constructive manner, and parents are taught how to effectively discipline their children (Agnew, 1995)
  • This will reduce the amount of negative emotions that result from conflict in the family and will decrease the amount of strain in the home
policy recommendations35
Policy Recommendations
  • School-based programs seek to improve relations in and between schools
  • Peer based programs seek to reduce the amount of strain that an adolescent feels as a result of relationships with peers
  • Relationships with peers can be negative when the peers are delinquent or when they are physically or verbally abusive toward other peers
critiques
Critiques
  • There is not much data to support or refute it
  • Objective/subjective strain
  • Measurement of strain
institutional anomie theory
Institutional Anomie Theory
  • Messner and Rosenfeld (1997) argued that the crime problem is related to “American Dream”, which they define:
  • “a commitment to the goal of material success, to be pursued by everyone in society under conditions of open, individual competition”
  • Teamwork/individualism
institutional anomie theory38
Institutional Anomie Theory
  • This exerts pressure toward crime by encouraging an anomic environment
  • “everything goes” mentality
  • Individuals as well as social institutions are under the influence of “American Dream” ideology
family institution
Family Institution
  • Individualism and independence for children
  • Children are cut off any financial support very early (compare to other cultures)
  • Early work is encouraged
  • Family orient and train individuals for better paying jobs
  • “Close ties” are sacrificed for the sake of achievement
education institution
Education Institution
  • Quantity of courses vs quality of studying (written exams vs oral exams)
  • Results: in a couple of years students do not remember much from the courses they have taken
  • Education prepare and train individuals for high-paying job
  • Religion has been undermined
  • “Value” of people is measured by their material gain (Gates, Trump, etc)
relative deprivation theory
Relative Deprivation Theory
  • Messner and Rosenfeld, 1997
  • To fell anomie a person should see/feel deprivation
  • People with the same social standing can have different sense of deprivation
  • The poorest Americans are far richer in terms of material possessions that the average citizen of many third world nations
relative deprivation theory42
Relative Deprivation Theory
  • Relative Deprivation refers to the economic gap that exists between rich and poor who live in close proximity to one another
  • Stanford vs WSU
relative deprivation theory43
Relative Deprivation Theory
  • Inner-city inhabitants develop an increased sense of relative deprivation because they can witness well-to-do lifestyle in nearby neighborhoods
  • People start question their place in the reward structure of society
  • Sense of injustice is the source of strain that can lead to criminal behavior