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The Strain Theory

The Strain Theory

  • Submitted By: caprice
  • Date Submitted: 10/29/2008 10:22 AM
  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 750
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 1

The Strain Theory came from Robert Merton. The Strain Theory explains how the lack of opportunities for success for different individuals may force them toward deviant behavior. Individuals all come from different areas, different families, and different financial backgrounds. But almost all have goals to get to. That is the first structure among the elements of social and cultural structures. The second structure is that every cultural structure controls and regulates the way you reach your goals. No society lacks rules, but in different societies, goals have different levels of importance. We are almost never happy with what we have. We always want more. We may begin breaking rules only in order to get more. But then factors come into play in who gets what they want. First, some do not have full and equal access to opportunity. Second, we don’t wan t to be the same as others in our social group, we want to be on the top of everyone. Third, there are threats from the society who fail to conform. We are deviant if in deviant means we get to our goals.
An example from American Me of the Strain Theory would be how the young Santana had to do what he had to reach any sort of goals. He didn’t have a chance from the beginning. That was where he was brought up. Deviance was the only way to reach your goals. When he was in juvenile detention, the first night a boy tried to rape him. In order to get him off of him and to gain respect he had to kill the boy. His main goal was then respect. He earned it in deviant means. Santana was an innovator. He had goals but followed only his rules in reaching them.
Differential Association comes from Edwin Sutherland. Differential association explains how one learns to engage in criminal behavior. Criminal behavior is learned, it is learned through interaction with others, and the learning occurs mostly from intimate groups. Learning includes how to and the attitude to hold. If you hang out with people who break the law, it is...

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