Strain Theory And Criminal Behavior

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Strain Theory and Criminal Behavior
Luis Carrillo
CRUJ 330
California State University, Fullerton

Introduction Two major concerns of students studying crimes are the origin and reasons behind criminal behavior. As a result, theories on crime and delinquency primarily revolve around these concerns. Moreover, it provides a doorway to understanding in human nature. Theorists draw their knowledge from different fields of science—such as sociology, psychology and biology—to find answers in uncovering individual motivations and structural inducement.
One such theory that draws not only from sociology, but also from psychology, is the strain theory of Agnew. This paper provides a detailed discussion on the origins and the propositions of strain theory. A comparison on Merton’s and Agnew’s strain theory is provided to gain a deeper understanding on its application in deviance discourses. Then this paper will explore the criticisms of strain theory and compare it to other sociological theories of crime behavior. Lastly, the paper concludes with an analysis of opportunities to improve strain theory in such a way that it can be generalizable in across individuals and societies.
Durkheim, Merton and Structural Functionalism
The strain theory can find its roots from existing concepts put forth by Durkheim’s enduring studies of modern society—particularly of anomie, as well as, structural functionalists like Parsons and Merton (Ritzer, 2010). In his
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