The Strain Theory Of Criminal Behavior And Is A Breakdown Of Why People Commit Crimes

1633 Words Oct 5th, 2015 7 Pages
Running Head: Strain Theory

Stain Theory
Keisha Harris
Valdosta State University

The strain theory explains the criminal behavior and is a breakdown of why people commit crimes. The theory was developed by an American Sociologist Robert K. Merton (1910-2003). Merton believed that the society influences deviance and plays a huge role in criminals committing crimes. Emile Durkheim (1858-1957) presented the earliest version of the strain theory. He believed that well-built societies set restrictions on individual goals, meaning that the person was given a chance to achieve their goals. Durkheim theory centers on the pursuit of limitless goals, whereas Merton theory targets the lower economic individuals who are incapable of achieving more limited economic goals.
Robert K. Merton was a prominent social scientist. He was born into working class family and received a Doctorate degree in sociology from Harvard University (Crossman, A). The Merton (1938) strain theory was presented in an article “Social Structure and Anomie” during the height of the Great Depression. In the 1950s during the economic growth people had began to wonder why was there a large amount of crime still taking place, it was at this point that the theory was able to persuade others. Whenever there are limits placed on achieving goals and reaching social values deviance is bound to happen. Merton strain theory from (1930s-1960s) was centered on the American dream of wanting financial…

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