Flashcards in Functionalism - Mertons Strain Theory Deck (13)
What did Merton argue?
- crime is a result of tension or strain
- tension is caused by p’s failing to meet societies goals set for them
What does Merton say about the goals society sets for us? (USA)
- main goals: wealth and power
- seen as ‘American dream’
- Americans believed they could achieve any thing if they work for it (meritocracy)
What did Merton say about opportunities?
- not every one has the same opportunities
- can’t all achieve goals legitimately
- higher classes have more opportunities
What does a lack of opportunities lead to?
- strain between desire to succeed and lack of legitimate opportunities
- turn to illegitimate means
- calls this pressure to deviate (strain to anomie)
How do p’s react to strain to anomie?
- either reject, accept or replace goals of society
- 5 forms of behaviour as a response
What are the 5 responses?
What is conformity?
- p’s accept culturally approved goals
- strive to achieve legitimately
What is innovation?
- accept goals
- use illegitimate ways to achieve
What is ritualism?
- give up on trying to achieve goals
- follow their own rules for own sake
- ‘go with the flow’
What is retreatism?
- reject goals and legitimate means
What is rebellion?
- reject societies goals and means
- replace them with new goals
- try to achieve revolutionary change
What are the weaknesses of strain to anomie?
- doesn’t explain non utilitarian crimes e.g child abuse
- ignores those who have means commit crimes, white collar
- ignores not every crime is individualistic e.g group crimes