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Merton’s theory seeks to examine certain acts of deviancy that results into criminal behaviors in society. Merton notes that society always emphasizes the achievement of certain goals such as education and hard work and also emphasizes the means to fulfill such goals. However, in society not all individuals have equal access to the means of achieving such goals legitimately. This results into strain and anomie.
In his theory, Merton highlights five modes of adapting to strain which is caused by limitation to socially accepted goals and means. He noted that restricted access to society’s goals did not ultimately result to individuals becoming deviant but the modes of adaptation entirely depended on individual’s altitudes to society’s goals and means to the institutional means of achieving them. Merton identifies various modes of adaptation. The first mode of adaptation is the Conformity. This is the most common and in this mode, individuals accept both the goals and the means of achieving them. The second mode is Innovation. Individuals who are innovators accept the society set goals but are faced with few legitimate means of achieving the set goals and are therefore forced to come up with their own means to achieve their goals. These means that they come up with include illegal means such as robbery and embezzlement. The third mode of adaptation is the Ritualism. In this adaptation, individuals usually abandon the goals they once believed would be achieved if unable to achieve them and restrict themselves to their current lifestyle. These individuals also, accept to abide by society’s rules.
The fourth mode is Retreatism .It is made up of individuals who have given up on the set goals as well as the way of achieving them. These individuals either become alcoholic or drug addicts and detach themselves
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However, because of the influence of the structural state in the society, people in diverse groups such as those belonging to the lower income status, as well as those who are discriminated by the society that they live in find it challenging to realize those goals that are associated with success based on the means that are provided to them.
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This contradiction leads to that a person, who has not managed to receive the certain values following the rules, starts to deny the rules and aspires to receive the values at any cost. That is why people start to commit crimes.
2. Strain theory focuses on situations in which other individuals "punish" the juvenile.
(FSU)The criminal justice stronghold points at forcing norms of profound quality and great conduct made by the influential overall of public opinion. (FSU) Center is on differentiating the compelling from have nots who
Robert argued that the society can be set up in a manner that encourages too much deviance for example, when socially accepted norms put pressure on an individual to conform, they force the individual to work within the societal structure or become deviant in an attempt to achieve the societal norms.
Strain theory emphasizes the unmatched opportunities available to individuals. The case of the US explores this idea where there is one goal of achieving greater economic and social prosperity. A skewed distribution of resources and institutional discrimination seems to limit access of the African American minority leading to system manipulation.
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