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Merton's Theory of Social Strain - Dissertation Example

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The paper “Merton's Theory of Social Strain” seeks to evaluate Merton's theory of social strain, which asserts that social values are what lead to deviant behaviors in society. This has been used by many psychologists and criminologists in explain Merton deviant behaviors in the societies…
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Mertons Theory of Social Strain
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Download file to see previous pages The Merton's theory of social strain which was introduced by argues that social structure is to blame for the high level of deviance in the society. This theory states that social norms and society’s perception of success is what drives those who cannot achieve such standards into deviance. This implies that individuals are forced to either work with the standards set by the society or be deviant.
Subcultural theories of crime have a number of things in common. These theories assert that deviance is always a result of an individual’s confirmation to the social groups which they belong to. This implies that social groups with norms that are different from those of the main society are likely to be perceived as deviant (Martin 2009, p. 137). These theories have always been used in the analysis of criminals and their tendencies.
According to Cohen lower working class men usually want to achieve success as perceived by the mainstream culture, but are unable to do so because of dead-end jobs and failure in education. As a result, they conform to delinquent norms and values. Under the delinquent structure, “success” has been redefined, making it easier for them to achieve success. This theory is in most cases in agreement with Merton’s theory (Skott-Myhre 2008, p. 212). They both agree that social pressure is what leads to deviance
Cloward and Ohlin add more to Cohen’s assertion and introduce three types of subcultures namely: conflict structures, criminal structures,  subcultures. However, Walter B. Miller asserts that deviant is purely as a result of the existence of a lower class subculture with completely different norms and values from the mainstream society(Vito & Maahs 2012, p. 89). He asserts that the norms and values are based on achieving toughness, excitement, and smartness (France 2007, p. 121). David Matza asserts that the moral hold that the mainstream society has on delinquents prevented them from being involved in delinquent activities for most of the times. He uses the remorse that delinquents feel for their crimes as a proof for his claim. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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