Structural Strain Theory

Decent Essays

Crime has been a pressing issue in society for many years and criminologists have been aspired to discover ways in which to explain people’s action, specifically criminal activity. To try and find a solution criminological theories are created and applied to individual experiences/situations. In this essay I’m going to explore, evaluate and critique sociological explanations of crime. According to Downes & Rock (1982, p194) people commit crime for material gain and the “cost-benefit-ratio aspects” are considered before committing the crime. They like to know and feel it’s worth it. The Structural Strain theory, developed by Robert Merton in the 1930’s, attempts to explain why somebody will steal a television set by referring to their personal and financial circumstances. Over time society has told us what we should be doing. From what clothes to wear, to how much we should be earning, to what car we should be driving, to our status, to what size TV we should have and everything in between. Modern advertisers would also like us to buy a new big TV. Living in poverty however, means that realistically people may not have the means to be able to afford it, so why not steal one? One of the strengths of the Structural Strain theory is that it helps highlight the areas that are in most need of attention when it comes to targeting crime. For example, where extra CCTV is needed around shops, especially those situated in areas of poverty (as the media have reported

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