Robert Merton 's ' S Letter And Learning More About His Childhood And Upbringing Essay

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After reading Scarver’s letter and learning more about his childhood and upbringing, I believe Robert Merton’s Strain Theory can help explain some of the early stages of Scarver’s criminality. According to an article published by the University of Minnesota Duluth, Robert Merton wrote an article in the 1940s claiming that biology cannot be the leading cause of crime because biological theories do not explain why crimes and deviance differ from one society to the next. He was interested in understanding why marginalized groups of a society had outstandingly higher rates of deviance than the majority groups of the same society. Merton uses Emile Durkheim’s concept of anomie, but slightly changes the meaning to fit his theory. Durkheim used the term anomie to describe a situation in which cultural norms fall apart because of a dramatic change in the society. Merton, on the other hand, used anomie to refer to the disconnect marginalized groups have between typical cultural goals and the typical means to achieve them (“Anomie”, n.d.). The article “Robert King Merton: Merton’s Five Types of Adaptations” discusses the five ways people adapt to the strain society forces upon them to be successful. The first mode is conformity. Conformity is when people accept their society’s goals and the legitimate means to obtain them. The majority of the population is conformists. It is not rare for people who struggle to meet these goals and means to still conform. The next type is innovation.

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