- Reactions to Merton: Albert Cohen
o Study of delinquency
o “Status frustration”
Formation of delinquency subcultures in youth
o Replacement of values occurs
Adrenaline rush of being caught or not, economic ideas, etc.
- Another reaction to Merton: Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin
o Differential opportunity theory
o Differential access to illegitimate opportunities
o Inequality in access to crime success (ex: drug dealing)
- Modern version of Strain Theory: Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory
o Idea of general goals (in addition to money)
Marriage, having children, owning house, travel, career, etc.
o What strains most likely result in crime?
Ex: parents split up one parent leaves and doesn’t want to have
contact with the child
Excessive parental punishment
Ex: beating a child, grounding for 2 days vs. 2 months, etc.
Negative high school experiences
Ex: don’t want to listen to teachers = low grades = dropout
Low paying jobs
Ex: cannot pay for rent, food, etc.
o When will people react negatively to strain?
- Another modern version of Strain: Steve Messner and Richard Rosenfeld’s “Institutional
o U.S. high crime rate due to culture
o “American Dream” erodes norms of society
Must live how society expects nice car, wealthy, house, wife, kids, etc.
o Fosters the onset of anomie
o Crime rate is tied to dominance of economy over other institutions (family,
school, political system
- Other names:
o Self-control or social control
o Umbrella for a number of theories
- Control theory is “moral conscious” guilt/shame felt by people
- Assumes importance of socialization
o Learning of values and norms
Don’t remember the first time these were learnt, just know them now o Ties to symbolic interaction
- Central question why don’t people commit crime?
o If socialization is impaired: crime
o But: controlling factors restrain most people from committing crime
Ex: red light obeyed at 3am with no one around
Ex: honour system for food on the side of a road (farmers)
Selling crop on the side of the road no one around to take
payment, but people leave money in the box
- Social ties to society prevent crime
o Inner and outer controls
Inner being taught right and wrong (Ex: stealing is wrong, etc.),
Outer policing, eye-witnesses (Ex: murder = jail time, etc.)
o Controls can be either informal (social) or formal (agents)