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Carleton University
Communication Studies
COMM 3001
Steve Tasson

Social Strains as a Cause of ProstitutionLiterature ReviewIn his book Suicide sociologist Emile Durkheim explored how a sense of moral and social confusion coming from a feeling of disconnect from societal norms and standards causes strain leading individuals to participate in socially deviant behavior The deviant behavior Durkheim explored was suicide but the basis of his theories was reexamined later by sociologist Robert K Merton who applied this theory to explain numerous other cases of social deviance including prostitution Mertons strain theory evaluates underlying social strains that may be contributing factors for an individual to make the decision to become a prostitution Merton categorizes different types of social deviance placing prostitutes into the Retreatist category Retreatists are defined as those who reject both the cultural goals and the accepted means of attaining those goals This implies prostitutes reject goals and means established by society without replacing those norms with their own countercultural forces Durkheim 1897 Societies are characterized both culture and social structure Thio TaylorSchwatrz 2013 Culture establishes goals for people in society while social structure provides or fails to provide the means for people to achieve those goals Merton feels that in a wellintegrated society people use accepted and appropriate means to achieve the goals that society Merton 1986 1986 In this case the goals and means of the society are in balance when the goals and means are not in balance with each other than deviance occurs Thio TaylorSchwatrz 2013 The American dream is a good example of a cultural goal that causes strain and confusion The idea is that if you get an education and work hard you will succeed and be happy Durkheim 1897 Economic status and success is what most of a society desires this can be applied to mainly Western culture and around the world as well The issue is that opportunities are not equally distributed so some people are at a disadvantage from the very beginning of their lives Durkheim 1897When someone is born into economic stability their chances of getting an education and a job after that are much higher Lower class people on the other hand dont have access to the same opportunities They can work hard but it is much more difficult to climb the economic ladder when starting out very low on it People in these positions experience strain because they work hard and aim for the same goals as the rest of society but have more difficulty achieving those goals Although these concepts are older they still apply today and can be applied to many modern situations When individuals find that they
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