Anomie or �Strain� Theories by 5bS7l4

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									Anomie or “Strain” Theories


   Merton
   Agnew
   Messner and Rosenfeld
   Durkhiem’s Legacy

     Rapidly Changing
                                 Human Nature as
          Society
                                 Insatiable; must
   “Industrial Prosperity”
                              therefore cap or control
         Anomie
                               Social Ties Important
   (Norms are Weakened)


The Anomie/Strain Tradition   The Social Disorganization
(Today)                       and “Informal Control”
                              Tradition (Last Class)
Robert K. Merton

   Social Structure and Anomie (1938)
   From Durkheim: Institutionalized norms are
    weakened in societies that place an intense
    value on economic success
   Applied this to the United States
       The “American Dream”
Conflict: Means and Goals

       Cultural Goal in U.S.?
           This goal is universal
           (The American Dream)
       Institutionalized Means?
           Due to the social structure in the U.S., the
            means are unequally distributed
           Segment of society with no way to attain goal
Strain Theory (Micro Level)

  MODES OF     CULTURAL INSTITUTIONALIZED
ADAPTATION      GOALS          MEANS
1. Conformity        +           +
2. Innovation        +           -
3. Ritualism         -           +
4. Retreatism        -           -
5. Rebellion        +/-          +/-
Criticisms of Merton’s Strain Theory

   Is crime a “lower class” phenomena?
   Cannot explain “expressive” crimes
   Weak empirical support
   Why do people “adapt” differently?
Agnew: General Strain Theory

        Overhaul of Merton’s Strain Theory
        Three sources of strain
    1.     Failure to achieve valued goals
    2.     Removal of valued stimuli
    3.     Can’t escape noxious stimuli
Agnew (GST)

   StrainNegative Affective States
       Anger, fear, frustration, depression
   In lieu of “Coping Mechanisms,” anger and
    frustration can produce delinquency
   StrainNeg EmotionalDelinquency
Agnew (GST)

   Tests of GST are more favorable
   Is this theory a theory of “Strain” (in a
    sociological sense) or a theory of “STRESS?”
    (in a psychological sense)
CRIME AND THE AMERICAN DREAM



       Messner and Rosenfeld
The Legacy of Merton

   In “Social Structure and Anomie”:
       “Modes of Adaptation” (micro)
       Discussion of why U.S. might be crime prone
        (macro) than other countries


   Messner and Rosefeld, in the 1980s,
    revisited the macro part of the theory
             Elements of the
            “American Dream”
   Achievement
   Individualism
   Universalism
   The “fetishism” of money
   These elements encourage “Anomic
    conditions”
THE AMERICAN DREAM
PRODUCES ANOMIE
   MERTON: Pursuit of financial success is
    “limited only by considerations of technical
    expediency.”
   Lombardi: Winning isn’t everything, it’s the
    only thing.
Institutions in Society

   Social institutions as the building blocks of
    society.
       The Economy
       The Polity
       The Family
       Education
Key Issue for M & R

   These institutions sometimes have conflicting
    goals and values.
   All societies can therefore be characterized
    by their distinctive arrangements of
    institutions
   The U.S.? Economy Dominates: we are a
    “MARKET SOCIETY”
    Indicators of Economic Dominance

   Devaluation of non-economic institutional
    functions and roles
   Accommodation to economic requirements
    by other social institutions
   Penetration of economic norms into other
    social domains
Implications of Economic Dominance

   Weak institutional controls
       Family and School are handicapped in efforts to
        promote allegiance to social rules
       Single parent families
       Poorly funded schools
       “Weak institutions invite challenge”
Culture, Social Structure, and Crime
                Rates
  CULTURE            SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  The American       Economic Dominance
  Dream

                     Weak Institutional
  ANOMIE             Controls




            HIGH CRIME RATES

								
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