Understanding the Similarities to Strain Theory and General Theory of Crime

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Understanding the similarities of Strain Theory, & General Theory of Crime Angela Sampson # 2396467 Sociology 345: Social Control Professor: James Chriss Cleveland State University April 30th 2012 Abstract: The purpose is to identify the similarities between Strain theories, and General Theory of Crime. Strain was developed from the work of Durkheim and Merton and taken from the theory of anomie. Durkheim focused on the decrease of societal restraint and the strain that resulted at the individual level, and Merton studied the cultural imbalance that exists between goal and the norms of the individuals of society. “General Theory of Crime”, In 1990 Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi wrote the book “A General…show more content…
In essence, general strain theory proposed that an increase in strain would lead to an increase in anger, which may then lead to an increase in crime (Agnew, 1992:61). These previously mentioned goals turn into strain when the individual is faced with certain disjunctions in their life. The first of these disjunctions is the one that is the focus of previous strain theories, the disjunction between aspirations and expectations. This is founded on the principle of culturally bound goals and values that are accepted by everyone but yet not available to everyone. This idea of the American Dream then causes strain and frustration in the individual who cannot achieve this dream through legitimate means. This theory has been criticized because it does not explain middle class crime, it only focuses monetary goals, social class is the only barrier that is considered, and it does not specify why some turn to deviance. The loss of positively valued stimuli Agnew’s research in the stress literature led him to the discovery that the removal of positive stimuli can also cause strain. This loss could manifest itself in the form of a death or a broken relationship with a friend or romantic partner, or it could be a result of the theft of a valued object. According to Agnew, the strain that is felt by the individual die to the loss could lead the individual to delinquency as the individual attempts to prevent its loss,
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