The limitations of Merton’s theory of strain can be argued as the study, which he has compiled is only concentrated on working class crime, not the middle class and white collar crimes. Furthermore, there is an over prediction because not all individuals under strain become criminals. For example, women are under most strain with unequal pay, yet statistics prove that women commit less crime than men.
Although strain is prevalent in lower income classes, it can also be found within corporations. When corporate profits and CEO salaries are soaring it’s difficult to understand why powerful people will commit crimes. With their companies producing at an excessive rate they are expected to continue increasing their profits. This can create their own specific strain to match present earnings. The fall out of their crimes leads to an even deep strain on their workers because they are worked harder and harder for less pay. With increased labor and decreased salaries they become unable to afford the products they are even producing. Race and gender in context to corporate crime is extremely disproportionate as well. The overall majority of people accused of corporate crimes are not the minorities or females but prevalently white men. This calls into
The Chicago school of sociology believed that there were certain aspects that were inherent within an industrialized city that could cause criminal behavior. The school and there researcher believed that the way to find out if this hypothesis was correct was to analyze and observed the regions in which the criminal and deviant activities were occur in. The school decided that to get a better idea of how this was affecting the area they would have to get involve with the community and do some field work to gage the response of the citizens within the area, and to ask questions and fill out surveys to gain a better perspective of the issue at hand. The research study was “a literary mode by sociological reporters, who provided dense descriptions documenting in rich and intriguing detail particular events and processes from their experience of being immersed with actual participants and getting to know their situated life patterns and belief systems” (“The Chicago School”, n.d.). The main purpose of this research is to ascertain if the Chicago school of sociology and “General Strain Theory (GST) share any type of relationship in regards to stress, criminal behavior that leads to crime, negative emotions base on the community in which they reside, and failure to achieve positively valued goals (i.e., status or money) because of their living conditions or environment” (“Review of the Roots”, n.d.).
Control theory, Anomie theory and Strain theory provide very different explanations of why people commit crimes based upon assumptions about how humans function. Control theory suggests that humans are naturally drawn to breaking the law. Humans are driven to fulfill their needs and desires. Crime provides one method by which humans can reach their goals. Control theorists would thus ask why everyone does not turn to crime to meet their wants and needs. The question shifts from the typical why do people commit crime to why do people not commit crime (Cullen and Agnew, 2011). Hirschi suggest that crime and social bonds are linked, such that crime occurs in absence of a strong social bond. The four elements of the social bonds are
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.
There are many criminological theories that attempt to explain criminal behavior or crime patterns. For instance, Agnew’s General Strain Theory can be applied to explain why the criminal John Dillinger committed various crimes. Agnew’s General Strain Theory assumes that all individuals experience strain, which, in turn, causes negative emotions that can result in legitimate or illegitimate coping, depending on an individual’s constraints or dispositions. Thus, the continuous criminal behavior throughout John Dillinger’s life can be explained using Agnew’s General Strain Theory in relation to strain, negative emotions, and dispositions.
There are many perspectives in which one can analyze and understand why a person decides to commit a crime. Some perspectives are social learning theory, strain theory, classical and rational choice theory, deterrence theory, biological and psychological positivist theories, among others. However, for the purposes of this paper, the biological and psychological theories will be discussed.
Many individuals in today’s society wonder what pushes people past a breaking point in which they become involved in actions not accepted by society, such as stripping, prostitution, drug use, alcoholism and more. The reasoning behind this is deviance. Deviance can be either positive (over conforming) or negative (under conforming). When applying the subject of crime to a type of deviance, it falls under the negative category because those who under conform in society have a tendency to reach their goals with non-accepted means. Considering the crime of drunk driving, many factors add up to develop a reason why so many people do it. Merton’s strain theory perspective explains the deviance behind drunk driving very well, using its’ assumptions, key focuses, and root of deviant acts to support it. Before focusing on Merton’s theory relating to the crime of drunk driving, we first have to recognize how sociologists understand the concept of deviance.
There are numerous researches about social strain theory and criminal offending. Robert “Merton states that the study of social strain believes that individual tend to respond to the gap between society’s values and their own
To lists some of the crime he has committed such as the case with vandalism, petty theft, grand theft auto, rape, assaults and assault with a deadly weapon, drug dealing, and attempt murder. Not only does the offense he committed affect him, but it has also caught up with him to do three years in prison. The use of Strain Theory is to examine deviancy within Nathan McCall’s life when he is confronted by the cultural goals that is within his environment and the institution means that enable him to achieve the goals. Within a healthy society, McCall will be acceptable towards the goals and suitable means to achieve the goals that society have impose upon on him. In contrast, when McCall cultural values and means becomes imbalance, he would encounter strain by adapting to five modes of adaptation.
All individuals have the ability to conform to the rules and norms of society. Merton’s Strain Theory suggests people feel strain when they are unable to attain society’s goals and/or beliefs. Then, because they are not able to appropriately achieve these goals in the way society says to, some will do so by committing criminal behaviors. This theory also explains, in society there are
Exploring the role of negative emotions among murderers in a population of federal offenders: the General Strain Theory
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.
The general strain theory has developed into among the greatest crime theories of social psychology with a fairly developed research body. General Strain Theory is thought to be a strong philosophy, and has gathered a lot of experimental confirmation, and has additionally extended its essential degree by offering clarifications of wonders outside of criminal conduct. There are diverse negative relationships with strain or stress that result in negative emotions along with encouraging some coping types. The adaptively is likely to be to be when criminal strains seem severe, unjust along with related with anger. This essay will review the different scholar 's argument concerning the sex-specific criminal behavior explanations and the general crime theories about strain and gender.