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Criminology_Strain Theory_week6


Criminology_Strain Theory_week6 16SS_CJ7020001

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Intro to Anomie and Strain Theory and its evolution
Seminar in Criminology
Ben Feldmeyer
Class Notes
Criminology; strain
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by MEI-TING HSIA on Wednesday March 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 16SS_CJ7020001 at University of Cincinnati taught by Ben Feldmeyer in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Seminar in Criminology in Criminal Justice at University of Cincinnati.

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Date Created: 03/02/16
STRAIN THEORY (02/24) Three big social theory of criminology: (fundamental differences about the motivation) (1) Strain: Push (pressure to crime; negative experiences) (2) Control: Drift (internal) (3) Learning: Pull (positive interaction)
 Anomie and Strain
 1. Emile Durkheim (1850-1900s)
 - What is “Anomie”?
 - Lack of Ethical standards
 - Normlessness
 - Lack of social regulation (ambiguous rules; hopelessness)
 - Estrangement 
 - Suicide would high when….
 - Irregular Lives
 - Economic Crisis (even the prosperity)
 - War (military service)
 - Divorce (social life shifts)
 - 4 suicides: (low norms)Anomie; Egoistic
 (high norms) Fatalistic;Altruistic
 - happen when norms shift
 - Disjunction between aspirations of ability to achieve goals
 - No limit on human desires (Unlimited goal) 2. Robert Merton (1938) “Social Structure &Anomie”
 - U.S. problems: High emphasis on success goals (money; power/prestige); Means: job, school, 
 follow rules, honest. However, there is a disjunction/gap between Goals and Means, it creates 
 pressure/push toward crime. U.S extremely emphasizes Goals more than Means. The reality is 
 Mean is deficiency.
 - 5 type of adaptation to strain
 (1) Conformity: +(goals) +(means) common
 (2) Innovation (Innovators): +- crime
 (3) Ritualism: - +
 (4) Retreatism:- - least, aliens, drug user, continued failure and inability
 (5) Rebellion:? new social order; revolution, terrorism - Anomie: Why does US have so many crimes?
 - Classic Strain: Individual reactions within a social system. REVISIONS OF CLASSICAL STRAIN THEORY 
 City- “Poverty in the midst of plenty”: Relative Deprivation (inequality)
 *CRITICS of Merton’s theory: 
 (1) Crime among middle class/Elites (pressure on the lower class), ex. white collar crimes, but strain still exist in elites, maybe try to be wealthier or be competitive. 
 (2) Findings poverty on crime were sometimes weak.
 (3) Non-offenders: good boys in bad neighborhood.
 (4) Less focus on women
 (5) Goals of his theory 3. Agnew (1980-1990s) “General Strain Theory” 
 - Negative relationship:
 (1) strain as the actual or anticipated failure to achieve positively valued goals, 
 - Expectations
 (2) strain as the actual or anticipated removal of positively valued stimuli,
 (3) strain as the actual or anticipated presentation of negatively valued stimuli: toxic 
 environment, illness >> cause substance abuse
 - Individually valued goals (not only money)
 - Many people would use “Coping Mechanism”
 (1) minimize importance of goals
 (2) minimize negative outcomes
 (3) accept responsibility
 4. Messner and Rosenfeld (1995) “InstitutionalAnomie” (back toAnomie)
 - “Institutional-anomie theory”- explain high rate of crime in US
 - monetary success+ economy dominates major institutions in the society: basic value and 
 organization of society are responsible for our high crime rate?
 - US: achievement orientation; individualism; universalism
 - 4 social institutions: the economy, polity, family and education- interdependence
 - US dream affect on crime
 (1) direct: the creation of anomic normative order
 (2) indirect: inhibit the development of strong mechanisms of external social control.


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