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Mertons Strain Theory (week 7).docx

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SOCY 275
Stacey Alerie

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Mertons Strain Theory  Focused on America, anomie  Focused on social conditions and social structure, associated with crime o Higher crime rates were more common in lower classes Social structural strain Durkheim  Breakdown of regulation, society could not regulate limitless desires, born with Merton-  Social structure caused strain  Too many limitless desires that could not be attained  Limitless desires originate from culture  American society has common goal of acquiring wealth, could be attained by everyone in society  Society is structured to promote cultural goal above else o Not all will achieve, everyone must try o Society limits ability to allow everyone to meet this goal o If we don't achieve goal then we don't care  Tells us how we should do it, institutionalized acceptable means of attaining goal o Promote following rules, should have value on doing that, o No real praise for accomplishments, just focus on goal  Eg. Protestant work ethic  work hard, follow path to get to goal  Strain is concentrated in lower class o Constrained by the same structures that promote the goals. o No chance to take the path to the goal  Focus on wealth, and inability of everyone to reach o Puts pressure on individuals in society  Assumes goal is applicable to everyone  Social structure limits opportunities for everyone, especially low class. o Does not offer legitimate path  Contradiction between culture and structure o Cultural goal, problem with structure, o We should all achieve it, but not everyone can achieve
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