Examples being selling drugs or becoming involved in prostitution to gain financial security. Structural: this refers to the processes at the societal level which filter down and affect how the individual perceives his or her needs, i. Individual: this refers to the frictions and pains experienced by an individual as he or she looks for ways to satisfy psychological theories of deviance pdf or her needs, i.
American sociologist who argued that society can encourage deviance to a large degree. Merton believed that socially accepted goals put pressure on people to conform. People are forced to work within the system or become members of a deviant subculture to achieve the desired goal. Merton’s belief became the theory known as Strain Theory. Conformity: pursuing cultural goals through socially approved means. Innovation: using socially unapproved or unconventional means to obtain culturally approved goals.
Example: dealing drugs or stealing to achieve financial security. Retreatism: to reject both the cultural goals and the means to obtain it, then find a way to escape it. Rebellion: to reject the cultural goals and means, then work to replace them. Agnew believed that Merton’s theory was too vague in nature and did not account for criminal activity which did not involve financial gain. The core idea of general strain theory is that people who experience strain or stress become distressed or upset which may lead them to commit crime in order to cope. One of the key principle of this theory is emotion as the motivator for crime. The theory was developed to conceptualize the full range of sources in society where strain possibly comes from, which Merton’s strain theory does not.
Examples of General Strain Theory are people who use illegal drugs to make themselves feel better, or a student assaulting his peers to end the harassment they caused. The inability to reach a desired goal. Derived from Merton’s Strain Theory, IAT expands on the macro levels of the theory. IAT’s focus centers on the criminal influences of varied social institutions, rather than just the economic structure. The theory states that crimes result from a high number of illegitimate opportunities and not from a lack of legitimate ones. The theory was created from Merton’s strain theory to help address juvenile delinquency. To this end, Agnew proposed a general strain theory that is neither structural nor interpersonal but rather individual and emotional, paying special attention to an individual’s immediate social environment.
He argued that an individual’s actual or anticipated failure to achieve positively valued goals, actual or anticipated removal of positively valued stimuli, and actual or anticipated presentation of negative stimuli all result in strain. Anger and frustration confirm negative relationships. If particular rejections are generalized into feelings that the environment is unsupportive,more strongly negative emotions may motivate the individual to engage in crime. This is most likely to be true for younger individuals, and Agnew suggested that research focus on the magnitude, recency, duration, and clustering of such strain-related events to determine whether a person copes with strain in a criminal or conforming manner. The strain theory of suicide postulates that suicide is usually preceded by psychological strains.
A psychological strain is formed by at least two stresses or pressures, pushing the individual to different directions. A strain can be a consequence of any of the four conflicts: differential values, discrepancy between aspiration and reality, relative deprivation, and lack of coping skills for a crisis. Psychological strains in the form of all the four sources have been tested and supported with a sample of suicide notes in the United States and in rural China through psychological autopsy studies. The strain theory of suicide forms a challenge to the psychiatric model popular among the suicidologists in the world.
The strain theory of suicide is based on the theoretical frameworks established by previous sociologists, e. There could be four types of strain that precede a suicide, and each can be derived from specific sources. A source of strain must consist of two, and at least two, conflicting social facts. If the two social facts are non-contradictory, there would be no strain. When two conflicting social values or beliefs are competing in an individual’s daily life, the person experiences value strain. The two conflicting social facts are competing personal beliefs internalized in the person’s value system. A cult member may experience strain if the mainstream culture and the cult religion are both considered important in the cult member’s daily life.
Other examples include the second generation of immigrants in the United States who have to abide by the ethnic culture rules enforced in the family while simultaneously adapting to the American culture with peers and school. In China, rural young women appreciate gender egalitarianism advocated by the communist government, but at the same time, they are trapped in cultural sexual discrimination as traditionally cultivated by Confucianism. Another example that might be found in developing countries is the differential values of traditional collectivism and modern individualism. When the two conflicting values are taken as equally important in a person’s daily life, the person experiences great strain. When one value is more important than the other, there is then little or no strain.
Strain theory best applies only to the lower class as they struggle with limited resources to obtain their goals. Strain theory fails to explain white collar crime, the perpetrator of whom have many opportunities to achieve through legal and legitimate means. Strain theory fails to explain crimes based in gender inequality. Merton deals with individuals forms of responses instead of group activity which crime involves. Merton’s theory is not very critical of the social structure that he says generate the strains.