Merton assembles a typology of these different adaptations to strain, and not all
of them are deviant.
Mode of Adaptation
Reject - +
Reject - +
is the one most criminologists are interested in. These guys use illegitimate
means to achieve success because they perceive no legitimate means. (They are most
likely to be criminals).
In terms of crime, conformists are of no interest, but society must have a majority of
people like this. (
is the mass amount of society.)
Opportunity Theory -- Cloward & Ohlin --
Opportunity theory starts from the premise
that people experience anomie and they adapt. However, what they add to the formula
is an examination of illegitimate opportunity structures, access to which is often
variable. It is not enough to just want to innovate, you need to have the wherewithal to
do so. Adaptation to anomie is related to the environment you live in-it shapes what you
can and cannot do. Cloward and Ohlin wanted to explain gang delinquency and
identified three types-the
, and the
. Each gang represents
an adaptation to anomie.
Criminal gang --
is like Merton’s innovator.
They want to achieve but lack
Criminal gangs do have access to an illegitimate opportunity
structure, which helps them achieve material goals. If an illegitimate opportunity
structure exists and individuals find paths to legitimate success blocked, they
gravitate to the illegitimate means. (Access to illegitimate opportunity structure;
have cultural goals but lack the means.)