Reading Summaries - #1 - Social Structure and Anomie by...

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#1 - Social Structure and Anomie by Robert Merton Important elements of social and cultural structure: -Culturally defined goals, purposes, and interests -aspirational reference -constitute a basic but not exclusive design for group living -social structure defines, regulates, and controls acceptable modes of achieving these goals -coupled with moral regulation Three types of social order: anomic, stable, and ritualistic Two polar types: -anomic structure: emphasizes goals and deemphasizes norms - high crime rates - lots of change and innovation - “winning isn’t everything; its’ the only thing” -ritualistic structure: deemphasizes goals and emphasizes norms -very low crime rates -no innovation Extreme emphasis upon accumulation of wealth as a symbol of success in our own society militates against the completely effective control of institutionally regulated modes of acquiring a fortune. Fraud, corruption, vice, crime, in short, the entire catalogue of proscribed behavior, becomes increasingly common when the emphasis on the culturally induced success-goal becomes divorced from a coordinated institutional emphasis. Culture Goals Institutionalized Means I. Conformity + + II. Innovation + - III. Ritualism - + IV. Retreatism - - V. Rebellion +/- +/- I. Conformity: most common and widely diffused. -accept goals and norms II. Innovation: -accept goals, reject norms - crime & delinquency - common to lower classes who face barriers III. Ritualism -reject goals, accept norms - cope with failure, follows norms -lower middle class IV. Retreatism: least common - “aliens”…are in society but not ‘of’ it -psychotics, outcasts, vagrants, drunks, addicts… - reject norms and goals - highly condemned by society V. Rebellion - tries to change society - failure due to fault of the system - want a new social order
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#2 - Summary – “Poverty, Socioeconomic Change, Institutional Anomie and Homicide” Researchers tested institutional anomie theory in Russia. Their study supported some of the data but a whole did not support institutional anomie theory. Institutional Anomie Theory (IAT) defined– during times of rapid social change, norms become unclear and society’s control over individual behavior decreases. Previous researchers believed that as people’s aspirations become less limited and as conventional social institutions (family, education) are weakened, deviance and crime should increase. IAT theorized that social institutions (family, education) were critical in increasing predictability (control) among society members. As these institutions weakened so too did social control over individuals. Weakened social institutions (family, education) = no countering the effects of poverty = weakened social control = increased crime. Study Site
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2008 for the course SOC 371 taught by Professor Matsueda during the Spring '08 term at University of Washington.

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Reading Summaries - #1 - Social Structure and Anomie by...

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