Merton's Strain Theory

1923 Words Mar 22nd, 2013 8 Pages
Section A
Briefly outline and highlight the contribution of Merton’s strain theory to criminology.

Robert K. Merton was an American sociologist that wrote in the 1930’s putting out his first major work in 1938 called Social Structure and Anomie. After publication, this piece was we worked and tweaked to counter criticisms. The importance of the time frame of which Merton initially began his work is significant, as during this time crime and the approach to crime was examined predominantly based on the individual and was explained from a psychological base. Merton on the other hand, applied sociology to crime. This is critical to understanding his strain theory, as his work is sociological in nature, following the core beliefs of
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Essentially the end justifies the means.

Section B
4. i) Explain crime and differentiate it from deviance ii) Evaluate two theories that have been used to explain crime. Reference must be made to their application to at least one Caribbean country.

Crime and deviance are two sides of the same coin; both are usually studied together and that is because crime is a form of deviance that has legal implications, while deviance in general is measured by societal norms and values without legal implications. Society functions because individuals conform to the understood norms and values that they have been made to believe are critical to the society in which they live. A functionalist view argues that society is comprised of like minded individuals that share a similar belief system and more importantly a common set of values that hold society together. Those who do not adhere to these written or unwritten values and norms of the society are labeled as deviant and isolated as sub-cultures or minority groups. Thus, deviance refers specifically to those acts which are not condoned by a given society. One may commit an act of deviance and then it is up to society and a number of other institutions to effectively label them as a deviant but the act itself is inherently one of deviance. Crime specifically refers to any deviant act that is against the actual law of the society and is

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