Strain theory is described as the cause of crime due to the social class or environment in which a person grows up in. In our society, people strive to obtain wealth, education, materialistic possessions and power. Due to the environment lower social class people are born into, they are unable to obtain these aspirations through legal means. Feelings of frustration lead to strain and can cause these people to resort to external and illegal means to obtain these resources or lead them to abusing drug substances in an effort to feel better.
This composition will look at crime and its different criminological interpretations. Crime is an umbrella word which covers a diverse range of issues and is dependant upon the theoretical stand point of the writer. Although the wordings of the explanations differ, the implications are consistent (Newburn, 2007. Doherty, 2005). Mclaughlin et al (2006) seems the most relevant for the purpose. They separate crime into three key constituent parts. These are harm, social agreement and the official societal reaction. There are different theoretical interpretations of crime. The product of culturally-bounded social interaction is crime; which is the violation of the social contract (Newburn, 2007. Young,
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 aim of this essay is to compare, contrast and evaluate two sociological theories of crime causation and two psychological theories of crime causation.
Robert Agnew’s General Strain theory expands prior theorist’s concepts which emphasizes that the obstruction of an individual goal or the inability of an individual to achieve conventional goals through appropriate means causes unlawful innovations, such as crime (Brezina, 2010). More so, Agnew’s expanded the concept of stressors in an effort to make stressors classless. In addition, Agnew states that the strains that generate strong pressure which tend to lead to criminal behaviors are chronic strains, strains that are rationalized to unjust or severe, and strains that can be resolved by crime (Agnew, 2001). Lastly, Agnew believes that criminal response is most likely to occur when normal coping strategies are absent.
A source of this strain that could have led to an influx of violent crime could be unemployment, without a job or work a person is more likely to commit a crime, even a violent one. The cause of manufacturing factories shutting down and moving overseas could cause “deprivation [due to] family disruption” (Siegel & McCormick 2016, pg. 221) from the loss of a job. Other evidence pointing to general strain theory being a cause of the violent crime rate is “subcultures blam[ing] others for their misfortunes, including aggressive illegal acts” (Siegel & McCormick 2016, pg. 221). However not everyone reacts to strain/stress the same way, and while some people do not commit antisocial behaviour there are some that do with recidivism more likely. Those who are more likely to commit another crime have distinctive traits which “ include having a difficult temperament, being overly sensitive or emotional, having a low tolerance for adversity, and having poor problem-solving skills. [They are also] linked to aggressive and antisocial behaviour, seem to be stable over a person’s life cycle.” (Siegel & McCormick 2016, pg. 222). In other words people who have these traits are shown to be more likely to have aggressive and antisocial
The general strain theory is an established theory that provides a basic understanding relating to different elements leading to specific criminal behaviors. The theory has been of importance in trying to map criminal patterns among individuals involved in criminal behavior, thereby creating a platform for their rehabilitation. The general strain theory has had a close connection to juvenile delinquency, as it creates a platform where psychologists can define some of the key factors prompting teenagers and youths to engage in criminal behaviors. According to Zhang (2008), teenagers and youths tend to become highly vulnerable to lack of emotional control attributed to an aspect of negative emotions, which do not include anger, thereby creating a platform for them to engage in behaviors that would be characterized as criminal. The main research problem of this report is to create a connection between the general strain theory and juvenile delinquency.
Agnew agrees with the core idea of classic strain theory. However, after further examination of his very own life and that of those around him, he found that “the perceived inability to achieve success through monetary means or middle class status was not a major stressor conducive to crime,” (Agnew, 2001, p.141). In fact, Agnew stated that the major strains conducive to crime are a bit more immediate in nature. To support this claim, psychological literature on aggression and stress suggest that strain involves more than the “pursuit of happiness” (Agnew, 1992). The loss of positively valued stimuli seems to be a larger contributor to juvenile negligence and delinquency.
This essay will offer different definitions of crime, suggesting that it is a social construction as it varies across culture, time and belief. It will examine the role of social construction, through interpretation and meaning, in the identification, reporting and legal consequences of criminal acts. After illustrating how fear, escalated by the media, can directly affect crime, it will conclude that crime and its consequences are socially constructed.
The two theories identified are Strain theory and General strain theory. Strain theories are indicated when certain strains or stressors are increased, there is a probability for a person to commit a crime. According to Robert Merton, strain theory is a form of adaptive problem-solving behavior that is committed in response to problems involving frustrating and undesirable social environments (Schmalleger, 2011). Strain results from an individual failure to achieve one’s goals, such as money, status/respect, autonomy, loss of a positive (death of a friend or love one), and loss of value possession. Strain can be thought of as pressure that individuals feel to reach socially determined goals (Agnew, 2015). A person who experience these strains become upset, which they may turn to crime in an effort to cope. By doing so, crime may be an escape or reduction for them to escape this feeling.
Crime is the product of the social structure; it is embedded in the very fibres of society. In this essay, I aim to explore different theories as to why crime exists within society and how we as a society therefore construct it. Crime is a social construct; it is always in society and is on the increase. It is inevitable. Where does it come from? It comes from legislation, from the making of laws.
Social Control Theory presents the idea that all humans maintain an inclination to act in a violent manner and the sole thing that prevents an individual from conceding to that inclination is the social connection they have with others; when this connection is hindered by abuse or neglect, the child is driven toward his or her impulse of violence and crime (Currie and Tekin 4). The last theory, Social-Psychological Strain Theory, suggests that the stress that is caused by abuse also has a role in driving an individual towards criminal activity (Currie and Tekin 4).
First of all, the world in which we live in depends a lot on financial
The causes of crime seem to be indefinite and ever changing. In the 19th century, slum poverty was blamed; in the 20th century, a childhood without love was blamed (Adams 152). In the era going into the new millennium, most experts and theorists have given up all hope in trying to pinpoint one single aspect that causes crime. Many experts believe some people are natural born criminals who are born with criminal mindsets, and this is unchangeable. However, criminals are not a product of heredity. They are a product of their environment and how they react to it. This may seem like a bogus assumption, but is undoubtedly true.
Biological theory states that the individual will have certain traits will be transmitted from parent to children through genetics and not from social learning. Along with the juvenile having similar facial characteristics, which some believe also predisposes them to criminal behavior (Palmerin, 2012).