Another important theory of deviance is the structural strain theory. The structural strain theory is defined as when the goals in which society sets for an individual are not met, that individual will defer to deviance. A perfect example is throughout the entire movie of the images of the streets, the hopelessness in each frame express what the strain theory is based upon. It is the idea that crime and violence are an immediate result between people's goals and the means to accessibly achieve them. They cannot overcome their deviant behavior because it is necessary to survive. Another example is in the beginning of the film Doughboy had said he was going to store. Ricky asked him why, as he did not have any money. Doughboy yelled, "aww I don't care."(Singleton) Instead of conforming to how Middle American youths obtain money, such as chores, Doughboy has to find alternate methods of achieving. Doughboy robs a store and is arrested. In a society where economic status is held on a pedestal, change is very difficult. This shows there is an unequal distribution of wealth which is a major cause of violence and robbery. A common theory among Americans is that society wants what it cannot have. It there was an equal distribution of wealth the strain theory would not exist as people would be satisfied with what society gave them, there would not be selfish ambition to obtain all you can. Another
The predominate theory of the social structure perspective that will be applied to Boyz N the Hood is Robert Merton’s Anomie/Strain theory and Robert Agnew’s General Strain theory which closely applies to Merton’s. The strain theory holds that crime is a function of the conflict between goals people have and the means that they can use to obtain them legally. Most people desire wealth, material possessions, power, prestige, and other life comforts. Although these social and economic goals are common to people in all economic standings, strain theorists insist these goals are class dependent. Members of the lower class are unable to achieve these goals of success through conventional or legal means. In return they feel anger, frustration, and resentment, which is referred to as the “strain.” Lower class citizens can either accept their conditions and live out their days being socially responsible or they can choose alternate means of achieving success illegally. These means can include but are not limited to theft, violence, or drug trafficking.
Burglary has an undeniably large presence in society. Consequently, there is significant discourse surrounding the major criminogenic forces that motivate burglars. As a result, this essay asserts that to a large extent, strain theory provides the most effective explanation for burglary. However, this essay recognises the limitations of strain theory, thus the essay acknowledges the smaller, albeit still significant roles that theories like Seduction of Crime theory and Conflict theory play in explaining burglary. To develop this hypothesis, a number of factors are explored. First however, a definition of burglary must be established; for the purposes of this essay, the Common Law definition shall be used. Additionally, strain theory’s fundamental
In the 1980’s, Criminologist, Robert Agnew, presented his theory of general strain, in which he covers a range of negative behaviors, especially how adolescents deal with stresses of strain. General strain theory focuses on the source, such as anything that changes in the individual’s life that causes strain. His theory provides a different outlook on social control and social learning theory for two reasons: the type of social relationship that leads to delinquency and the motivation for the delinquency (Agnew, 1992). He states that certain strains and stresses increase the likelihood for crime such as economic deprivation, child abuse, and discrimination. These factors can cause an increase of crime through a range of negative emotions. For some people it can take a lot of willpower to take a corrective action and try to deter away from committing crime in a way that they can relieve these negative emotions. When people cannot cope with the stresses of the strain, they turn to crime as a coping mechanism. Agnew also states, that not all people that experience the stresses of strain will go forward to committing crime and live a deviant life.
The theoretical framework of strain theory can be credited to sociologist Emile Durkheim. Durkheim research on formed a platform for other sociologist to further develop strain theories of crime. One of which is Robert Merton. One of Durkheim’s major works that opened the door to further research on strain theories was his book, Suicide. In this book Durkheim sough to understand the why led to one’s own self-destruction. Emile Durkheim studied suicide rates and its association with crisis. Durkheim noticed trends in suicide rates that were associated with economic prosperity and economic crisis.
"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw," (Kazi, 2017). The modern societies around the world put a high importance on preventing criminal activity and rectifying behavior that leads to crime. In an ongoing struggle against corruption, many sociologists, and psychologists have done in-depth research to understand what is the cause of crime in our society. Initially, in 1893, Emile Durkheim first came up with the idea called Anomie Theory to explain why offenses take place in our communities. Durkheim reported that crimes took place in our society because there was a lack of ethical norms and social standards within our communities (Walsh, 2018).However, almost half a century later, Robert K. Merton developed Merton's Strain Theory to thoroughly explain why some people in our society are more likely to commit crimes than the others who don’t. Merton’s Strain Theory argues that corruption not only occurs in our communities because we lack norms in our society, but are also caused by the strains that are present among us as individuals which influence people to commit the crime. In his explanation, people will resort to achieving success through illegitimate means when they are blocked from acquiring success through legitimate means (Walsh, 2018). After studying the classical strain theories, I think that Merton’s Strain Theory explains street crimes such as robbery, theft, assault, and drug dealing better than
This “strain” can take on two forms: individual or structural. Individual strain is a reference to one’s own needs and the pains that a person has to endure when trying to gain them. Structural strain is a reference to the pains felt to both fit and achieve on a certain level within specific contexts. All of this information points to strain theory fitting into the category of the Postmodernist School of Criminology. This school of thought teaches of how criminal behaviors are in fact used to correct inequality that is caused by society.
Furthermore it states that humans, being conformists readily buy into these notions. However, access to the means for achieving these goals is not equally available to everyone. Some have the education, social network and family influence to attain these goals. The socially and economically disadvantaged do not have the opportunity, education or necessary social network for attaining material wealth and economic or political power. Thus the strain theory predicts that crime occurs when there is a perceived discrepancy between these goals and the legitimate means for reaching them. Individuals who experience a high level of this strain are forced to decide whether to violate laws to achieve these goals, to give up on the goals pushed upon them by society, or to withdraw or rebel.
The rate of violent crime jumped from five instances for every one-hundred thousandth person in 1980 to fifty instances for every one-hundred thousandth person in 2000, in other words the rate increased by 1,000% in twenty years. The rate of property crime jumped from one hundred instances for every one-hundred thousandth person in 1980 to four hundred instances for every one-hundred thousandth person in 2000, in other words the rate increased by 4,000% in twenty years. A criminological theory that could explain why the violent crime rate went up is general strain theory,
Strain theory points out that certain societal structures push individuals to commit crimes (Agnew, Robert, Brezina, Wright, Cullen, 2002). For example, when individuals are not able to successfully attain their goals through legitimate means they resort to illegitimate means to attain them. Strain theory is divided into three major categories: The first category is “ (1) prevent individuals from achieving their positively valued goals, including monetary, status, and autonomy goals; (2) remove or threaten to remove positively valued stimuli that individuals possess; and (3) present or threaten to present individuals with noxious or negative value stimuli” (Agnew et al . , 2002). These three categories of strains can ultimately drive individuals into deviant subcultures. Growing up, Guzman Loera faced some of these strains, therefore strain theory will be used to explain his engagement in criminal
Introduction: Throughout history there have always been many different theories of crime and why people commit crimes. In the late 1930s a new theory rose to the forefront; this theory was called the anomie theory. Anomie means a lack of ethical standards. The anomie theory was proposed by Roberton Merton. It stated that society, as a whole, generally shares the same goals relating to having success in life; whether that is having a family, wealth, power, or just happiness. Society generally agrees that these are things that are to be sought after. Furthermore, Merton proposed that society, as a whole, also has a list of generally accepted ways to achieve such goals (Merton, 1938). Criminal activity, such as robbery, murder, and corruption, are among the things that are not accepted by society as appropriate means to achieve these goals. Merton’s anomie theory was built upon in 1992 by Robert Agnew who developed the general strain theory. General strain theory argues that when members of society are unable to achieve the general goals that society has set forth, they will, in order to avoid further rejection, further alienate themselves from society. Agnew also argued that if these individuals feel as if their shortcomings were a result of their environment failing them they will likely develop very negative feelings towards society, causing them to
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.
Strain theory and New Deviancy Theory (NDT) are mirror images of those above. Strain theory understands human nature to be socially constructed, where, committing a crime is produced by society not from individual instincts, favouring a deterministic perspective but also recognising that individuals rationalise from inside their determined position to achieve their aspirations. However, methods of innovation, ritualism, retreatism, or rebellion are not included under human rationality. Combining voluntaristic and determinacy is a main feature in NDT, although, they argue that while individuals are born free, they lose their agency in societal frameworks that manage behaviour; the state. The problem with this is that it ignores class conflict and therefore denies the basic causes of crime.
Merton’s work has contributed greatly to criminological theory as he took a different perspective than Durkheim’s concept of anomie and reworked to the American context. The theories and concepts of anomie and strain that Merton argued have influenced the works of Cohen as well as the New Deviancy Theory and the New Penology. Therefore, Strain theory has evolved across time to encompass different situational circumstances of crime. Furthermore, due to the individual’s inability to achieve the appropriate cultural status, the idea of reference groups have also been highly relevant to today’s understanding of crime. Where evaluating oneself against peers constantly occurs as people try to better or compete against others.