Functionalism - Mertons Strain Theory Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Functionalism - Mertons Strain Theory Deck (13)
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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?

- conformity
- innovation
- ritualism
- retreatism
- rebellion


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
- dropouts


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


What are the strengths of strain to anomie?

- provides an explanation for w/c crime
- provides an explanation for utilitarian crime