Why People Commit Crime: A Strain Theory Perspective

2515 words - 11 pages

Why People Commit Crime: A Strain Theory PerspectiveSOCI150 CriminologyDeviance, criminal behavior and wrong doings; why do they occur? People don't just wake up one morning and say "I'm off from work today so why don't I just go rob a bank". There has to be something in their past or present experiences that cause one to engage in criminal behavior. So what makes people commit crime and most importantly why do they fell they need to so? Criminologists have studied this question for many years and came up with so many different types of answers and theories. All these theories prevail their own unique reason for crime. Due to my interest in this question I also have been reading some ...view middle of the document...

He spoke English, French, German, Italian, and Latin. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1936. Soon after, he became a faculty member at Harvard. From 1939 to 1941, he served on the faculty of Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1941, he was appointed to work at Columbia University and became a full professor there in 1947. He published countless works that have aided any sociologists both then and now. His publications broadened the realms of sociology and helped develop new genres of study within the field such as crime and deviance related research. His most famous writings were Social Theory And Social Structure and On The Shoulders of Giants published in 1965. Merton died on February 23, 2003.Merton stated that anomie is the form that societal disorder that takes when there is a significant detachment "between valued cultural ends and legitimate societal means to those ends"(McCluskey 2002 p11). Basically Merton said that all people have legitimate goals such as "wealth, status and personal happiness", (Schmalleger, 2002 p208), they are some of the main desires that people posses and strive to get. Some people can never reach these goals and to others they are handed down to them during childhood. Some two types of groups are lower class and upper class individuals. For a person to have wealth, status and personal happiness, they need certain types of tools, such as education, a good job, and financial saving. Robert Merton states that the means of achieving these goals are not evenly distributed to all members of society. Not everyone can afford and a good college education and progress to become a hard working doctor or lawyer. Dues to the large numbers of low class people in this world this type happy life and financial status is many times not accomplishable. This causes a strain; the dictionary meaning of the word strain states "A great or excessive pressure, demand, or stress on one's body, mind, or resources" (dictionary.com). Merton reveals in his Strain Theory that this consequences in criminal and deviant behavior when and individual finds out that he does not that the means to fulfill his goals.Merton did not mean that everyone who was denied access to society's goals became deviant. He presented five modes of adapting to strain. The chart below gives the five modes of adaptation and illustrates that for each mode there is a goal and mean. The "+" indicates available and the " - " not available. Conformity is the most common mode of adaptation. Individuals in this group accept both the goals as well as the prescribed means for achieving those goals. Conformists are the lucky ones who accept the goals of society and the means approved for achieving them. The people in this unit are mostly middle- class and upper-class individuals. The populations who adapt through innovation accept societal goals but don't have the means to achieve those goals. This causes them innovate (design) their own means to get ahead. Their...

Other Essays On Why People Commit Crime: A Strain Theory Perspective

Criminal Justice System Essay

1288 words - 6 pages , and where poverty and hard times are a given, boredom becomes your enemy and stopping it from consuming you becomes a challenge. Often crime is the answer, maybe the only answer. This does not excuse blacks who commit crimes but it helps put everything in perspective. If the scales of justice provide different weights for black defendants and white defendants, they need to be fixed.The Bill of Rights requires that accused people be judged by a

Crime In America Essay

669 words - 3 pages this method. Bit if someone is arrested fir drug use they need help. A majority of crimes are committed while high, so in theory all prisoners should have to receive drug counseling. If these men were treated they might not be back in prison.Another way to curb crime would be to have more youth programs for juvenile offenders. Take them when they commit tier first minor crime and let them see what prison is like. Or even better take them to a

MacBeth As A Tragic Hero

863 words - 4 pages , he kills Duncan, and thus commits his terrible crime, and eventually is punished.The tragic hero must deserve his fate. He must not simply make a mistake, like stepping off a curb in front of a moving vehicle. He must commit some terrible crime for which he is punished. People of the Elizabethan Period were well aware of the problems created when kings are murdered. The Fifteenth Century was a period of almost constant ruinous civil war in

Crime And Punishment "Is There Not Such A Thing As Crime?" Disdusses Crime And Punishment, By Feodor Dostoevsky, Beloved, By Toni Morrison, And Utopia, By Sir Thomas More

1221 words - 5 pages '. For example, purposeful and alleged manslaughter is a crime,because it is a law to not kill others; people are not allowed to go cavorting around killingwhomever they please, if they did, civilization would fall. Laws and rules hold us tocivilization.Another way to define crime is through ethics and morals. Each person on thisEarth possesses a conscience; when we do something wrong, our conscience makes us feelguilty, although some people feel

Meats

1631 words - 7 pages class could have attained. This is shown when he is presented the opportunity to buy his freedom by way of bail. His parents lived from paycheck to paycheck so they were unable to provide sufficient funds to buy his freedom. This is where the theory of Marxism and the fact that people of a lower social status are unfairly treated when it comes to the law, for example if a wealthier individual were to commit the same crime as Slaney, they would be

A Brief Overview Of The Susan Smith Court Case

1070 words - 5 pages égé in the middle of the ramp. At first Mrs. Smith wanted to commit suicide. She shifted the Mazda into neutral and felt the car slowly begin to roll down the remaining length of the boat ramp. The car only traveled a few yards before Susan stepped on the brake. She opened her door and stepped out of the car. Her attempt at suicide was not accomplished but that little incident didn't conclude her big scheme (Crime Library).Susan Smith

Why Plea Bargaining Is Necessary For Court System To Function

1426 words - 6 pages lesser of the evils.I agree with the definitions submitted by the affirmative speaker.Americans have always emphasized getting a job done. We place a great deal of value on efficiency and industry. The government is expected to run with efficiency and operate with the good of the people in mind. Every aspect of our lives is governed by this utilitarian value. Why do we place such importance on efficiency? Because without it nothing would ever get done

Death Penalty

1787 words - 8 pages death. For example, people who commit murders (non-accidental or mass murders) are perfect candidates for the death penalty. However, if a person's life was in jeopardy, and they murdered another individual out of self-defense, he or she should not be charged with the death penalty or have to serve time in jail. Deciding whether or not an individual deserves this harsh punishment (the death penalty) should highly depend on the situation and

Prisons

915 words - 4 pages only option for his punishment, but is it his only way out of his problems? In Wilbert Rideau's "Why Prisons Don't Work," he presents the idea that prisons don't work because people go in and come out the same way, unchanged. He says that authorities think the best solution is to "get tougher" by cracking down on crime and locking away the criminals in prisons, but Rideau had first hand experience in one of those prisons and

Crime Myths

2267 words - 10 pages . Crime's definition can vary according to a person's cultural background whether it involves race or religion or many other factors of one's experience within the society that they live in. Generally crime occurs when the set of rules known as laws in Australian society are broken. Different cultures and societies impose their own rules. Each of these cultures and societies has their own way of punishing anyone who does not comply with the laws

Gang Activity

1435 words - 6 pages Since the beginning of the decade, teenage homicides increased by one hundred and fifty percent (Strout, Brian 1996). This sharp increase is largely due to the rapid formation of gang activity throughout the United States (Strout, Brian, 1996). In today's larger cities, gang violence is a reality that people have to deal with every day. As gang related crimes increase, officials are trying to find out why people join and remain loyal to gangs

Similar Papers

Canadian Legal System Restorative Justice Essay

2228 words - 9 pages reasons. Criminals have been punished to varying degrees in many countries for many years without the success that is expected. If harsher problems such as capital punishment, incarceration, electrical monitoring etc were successful at deterring crime why do so many criminal offend again and again? Why does crime continue to be such a major problem in Canadian society? In addition to these questions; conventional forms of Punishment are

What Are The Major Difficulties Associated With Theorising White Collar Crimes?

1971 words - 8 pages companies that he took money from his Mirror Group pension funds to cover them and keep his empire afloat and kept his financial situation a secret for as long as he could (even from his wife).Proponents of strain and control theories have attempted to formulate a cause of white-collar crime. White-collar crime can been viewed as an 'innovative' response on the part of the business (or particular roles such as Robert Maxwell) to the strain of

Is The Relationship Between Drugs And Crime A Causal One?

2322 words - 10 pages view that because of the nature of the criminal lifestyle, drug use is a systematic part of it. In this particular model, there is a strong notion that the criminal side of their life comes first, followed by the drug use. Therefore it would also be true to say that if the drugs were taken away completely their criminality would not be affected in any way. The sub-cultural theory is also used to explain how crime can lead to drugs. Statistics show

Motivation Essay

358 words - 2 pages , since it can be rather complex in some cases. In general, there are often multiple motives that, when combined, lead individuals to commit a crime (Turvey 2002). Only in a rare case is a motive singular Nonetheless, people concentrate on finding one causative factor that can explain an individual's criminal behavior Ainsworth (2001).Interest in MotivePolice and lay-persons have different reasons for looking at motives. When a crime is committed, lay