Conception of anomie and durkheims is that for merton

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conception of anomie and Durkheim’s is that for Merton, anomie is not confined to times of change, but it is a feature of certain types of society. For Merton, society is composed of a social structure and a cultural structure. The former is the institutionalized means for achieving the goals that the latter fosters. In a perfect society the social and cultural structures are integrated, so everyone not only shares the goals of society but the means to achieve them. The notion of a balanced society is one that is central to functionalism, of which Merton is an exponent. Merton is interested in US and argues that the goal of material wealth predominates. However, not everyone has the same means to achieve this material success. The disparity or conflict between the goals and means is what causes anomie for Merton. Anomie produces strain in people who experience it. There are several ways that people respond to strain and these in turn can explain a great deal of deviance in society. “Social structure & Anomie” The goals we have are not achieved individually. Anomie is constantly part of society. We are constantly in situations where we want something we cannot have / achieve. This causes distructure. Cultural Structure (goals) vs Social Structure (means to achieve goals). Anomie causes strain; individuals adapt to strain.
o Merton assembles a typology of these different adaptations to strain, and not all of them are deviant. Mode of Adaptation Cultural Goals Means 1. Conformity Accept + Accept + 2. Innovation Accept + Reject – 3. Ritualism Reject - Accept + 4. Retreatism Reject - Reject – 5. Rebellion Reject - + Reject - + Innovation 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. ( Conformity 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 criminals , the conflict , and the retreatist . Each gang represents an adaptation to anomie. o Criminal gang -- is like Merton’s innovator. They want to achieve but lack legitimate means. 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.) o

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