The Theory Of Crime Theory

1329 Words Nov 30th, 2014 6 Pages
Probably the single most influential and certainly the best-known crime theory among all the sociological theories of crime is that of strain theory. Strain theories argue that there are certain socially generated pressures or forces that drive people to commit crimes. More specifically, the classic strain theories argue that people, particularly those of lower class status are pressured into crime when they are prevented from achieving cultural goals like monetary success or middle-class status through legitimate status. Among the classic strain theorists the best known is Robert K. Merton.
Merton rejected the notion still popular at the time of his writing that deviant motivations were rooted in the biology or psychology of the individual, holding instead that deviance and criminality were social products: certain phases of social structure generate the circumstances in which infringement of social codes constitutes a normal response Merton identified two key elements of social and cultural structure which together exerted pressure on some individuals to engage in deviant behavior. The first elements are the culturally defined goals, purposes and interests of society the desired ends, and the second element is the social structure which defines, regulations and controls the means.
Focusing on the U.S., Merton argued that the primary aspirational reference was material success. However, Merton observed that many individuals, particularly the poor and the uneducated cannot…

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