Essay on Merton's Strain Theory

Decent Essays

In Merton’s (1938) strain theory social structures account for the criminal tendencies found in offenders. Individuals adjust to societal pressures in five distinct ways. Adaptation I, which entails conforming to both culture norms and means, is the most common. The popularity of this adaptation allows a society to function effectively. In contrast, adaptation IV is the least common and gives rise to the rejection of both cultural goals and means. Those that adopt this culture pattern are societal misfits and usually include some such persons as psychotics, psychoneurotics, chronic autists, vagrants, and chronic drunkards or drug addicts.
Sykes and Matza’s (1957) control theory postulates that acts of delinquency are generally not …show more content…

Second, he could deny injury, which means he does not see his actions as harmful. Third, he may deny there was a victim. In short, the victim had it coming or deserved it. Fourth, he could condemn the condemners. For example, he may blame the legal system and accuse it of being the real criminals. Fifth, he could appeal to higher loyalties. In short, adhering to the loyalties of a small group rather than the society at large.
Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) control theory regards parental controls as key in developing self-control, which is related to crime. People who show low self-control tend to live in the here and now, whereas those who have better self-control like to defer gratification. For example, criminal acts provide excitement, have few long-term benefits, and require little preparation. Moreover, they cause pain to their victims, which is correlated to being self-centered and insensitive – both qualities of people with low self-control.
A major cause of low self-control is improperly raising a child (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990). In fact, research has shown that affection, supervision, and discipline have all been absent from the homes of delinquents. In order to teach children self-control someone must at least monitor the child’s behavior, recognize deviant behavior when it occurs, and punish this kind of behavior.
In strain theories the nature of man is regarded as a product of external

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