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c-20 - 4 High level of maladaptive behavior due to cultural...

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Strain Theory Robert K. Merton Socially generated pressures or forces drive people to commit crimes not equally distributed in society Why is it that the frequency of deviant behavior varies within different social structures? The answer lies in class structure and the pressures that it places on lower-classes. Theory was developed in 1940s--widely accepted in 1960s "great society program." Robert K. Merton "Anomie" 1. Social structure limits the abilities of certain groups to satisfy culturally dictated goals and aspirations. Cultural goals deemed acceptable: Wealth Power Status Material Goods 2. Social structure specifies acceptable means "Institutionalized Means" based on values of culture 3. Conflict or Strain between goals and means produce "anomie"
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Unformatted text preview: 4. High level of maladaptive behavior due to cultural imbalance between goals and means. • Between forces driving people to crime, and restraining forces. • Social structure explains differences in upper and lower class crime rates. • Distribution of legitimate opportunities to achieve wealth through legitimate means. 5. Since goals are not always achieved, means become valuable in themselves. • Often times, means are placed under severe stress. • Little reward in means alone. 6. Strain falls on a wide variety of people: • mostly concentrated in lower-classes. • because of differential emphasis placed on ability to attain goals. • goals "open to all."...
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