Criminological Theory Essay

2473 words - 10 pages

"Our primary aim is to discover how some social structures exert a definite pressure upon certain persons in the society to engage in nonconforming rather that conforming conduct. If we can locate groups peculiarly subject to such pressures, we should expect to find fairly high levels of deviant behaviour in these groups, not because the human beings comprising them are compounded of distinctive biological tendencies, but because they are responding to the social situation in which they find themselves"(Merton, 1957 p. 186).

American sociologist, Robert Merton has become one of the worlds most cited theorist in the study of deviance.

Born in 1910, in the slums of South Philadelphia, Merton received a scholarship attend Temple University, following his education at Temple, Merton won a graduate assistantship to Harvard, where he later went on to teach at the renowned University, (Lilly, 2002). In 1938, while teaching at Harvard, Merton published his book, "Social Structure and Anomie", at the age of twenty eight, (Lilly, 2002).

Working within the overall functionalist perspective- which puts a great deal of emphasis on the role of culture, Merton centred his research on the notion that deviance was a consequence of the cultural ideals imposed upon society, ( He believed that deviance was, not by nature, inherent, but socially introduced, (Empey, 1978). Like the Chicago School of Thought, Merton located the roots of his research in the very fabric of American society, (Lilly, 2002).

By examining the foundations and ideas expressed in Merton's theory, we can discover whether is work holds any relevance to our understanding of crime today.

Robert Merton took Emile Durkhiem's theory of `Anomie', and adapted the term used to analyze situations in which culture created deviance and disunity, (shoemaker, 2000). Merton reworked the term `anomie' to refer to a situation where there is an apparent lack of fit between the cultures norms about what constitutes success in life (goals), and the culture's norms about the appropriate ways to achieve those goals (means), (Clubb, 2001).

With a country still experiencing an abundant of migrants to the USA and people leaving rural America, to go to the cities that the Chicago School documented in the 1920s (Hoffman, 2000), Merton noticed that in the1930s there weren't jobs available, as there had been the previous decade. As a result too many people were chasing too few employment opportunities, and in a time of great depression where there was no welfare state, many people dying on the street of hunger and malnutrition (

In contrast to the suggestion by the Chicago School, that the roots of crime were to be found in the city slums where people became criminals as a result of meaning different cultural values (Lilly, 2002), Merton suggested that conformity to conventional cultural values in itself can lead to high crime rates.


Find Another Essay On Criminological Theory

Applying Criminological Theory to Solve the Murder of Tigger

1297 words - 6 pages Applying criminological theory to a suspect’s anecdotal evidence can help to distinguish which suspect could be the possible offender. In this certain case, poor Tigger has been murdered and there are 3 possible suspects. Merton’s Anomie Theory will be applied to suspect number 1: Winnie The Pooh. Eysenck’s Theory will be applied to suspect number 2: Piglet and Social Bond Theory will be applied to suspect number 3: Eeyore. Merton’s Anomie

Critique a Criminological theory and its research Methods

1749 words - 7 pages In this assignment I am going to critically analyse the Stanford Prison Experiment. I am going to see what type of research method was used and I am going to review the aim of the research method Zimbardo’s used. I will be critically analysing Zimbardo’s finding and reviewing the conclusion that Zimbardo came to. While I critically analyse Zimbardo’s study I will determine whether or not his study was ethical, useful and valid. Zimbardo’s

Criminological Theories Explaining Behaviors of The Cocaine Kids

1584 words - 6 pages , examples, role models, etc. Such theories include the theory of Differential Association, Subculture of Violence Theory, and the Social Learning Theory. The first criminological theory, that explains behavior of the drug sellers, is the theory of Differential Association. Differential Association, termed by Edwin Sutherland, argued that persons engage in delinquent behavior because they learn it from society and they engage in it when it

Beginning with the so called "Enlightenment" this essay briefly describes the origins of criminological thought

749 words - 3 pages The Origins of criminological thoughtThe EnlightenmentCriminal thought and processes first came into fruition during the enlightenment. This phrase was often used by the writers of the time, who were convinced that they were emerging from centuries of darkness and ignorance into the dawning of a new era enlightened by reason, logic, science, and respect for humanity. The "classical period" is very important as the period provided the first

Arousal Theory of Causasion

1712 words - 7 pages Arousal Theory of Causation Introduction The research done for this paper was conducted to explain the arousal theory and its relation to crime. The first section of research is to explain the arousal theory and the assumptions that can be concluded from the theory, as well as, explain the positivistic school of criminological thought. The second section is to tell observational support of the positivist school and describe studies done on

"Walklate (1998: vi) suggests Feminism and Criminology may be contradictions in terms. To what extent do you agree with her?

1708 words - 7 pages be observed behaving in ways that do not fit criminological theories, it tends to be the theories not the women that are found to be deficient. It is exactly this type of deficiency that calls for feminist criminological theory, to remedy the currently dated and patriarchical texts within the field of criminology.As a final thought, the difficulties that arise through finding a relationship, or balance, between feminism and criminology make it

Why Do People Become Drug Dealers

2280 words - 10 pages easily is one of the main reasons as to why someone becomes involved in this type of illegal business. Dealing drugs, at times, has many benefits that will follow an individual, as opposed to the costs that may be inflicted upon someone involved with dealing drugs. There are two criminological theories that help to explain why people becoming involved in the dealing of drugs. The first theory is Rational Choice Theory. This theory states that an

Chasing Ghosts: The Search for a General Theory of Crime

2352 words - 10 pages implausible. Nonetheless, the general theories of crime that have been proposed over the past century have been amongst the most influential in the field and shifted the paradigm of criminal thought forever. Furthermore, the contemporary criminological focus seems to be to generate a more comprehensive explanation of criminality; a generalizable theory which can serve as the panacea to the question of what causes people to commit crime (Adams

Crime Mapping in Omaha/Douglas County, Nebraska

898 words - 4 pages mapping will be defined, then specifically looked at for an area which I have chosen, Douglas County, Nebraska. Finally, I will utilize the information found on the crime map data shared to either support or refute a criminological theory which has been discussed thus far in our Criminology class. An Introduction to Crime Maps and Crime Mapping What is a crime map? A crime map is created when analysts can pinpoint the locations of where criminal

Why Rob Grandma

839 words - 4 pages explain why people commit crimes against the elderly is Cohen and Felson’s routine activities theory. While most criminological theories focus the characteristic elements that make up a criminal, the routine activities theory focuses on the situations that enable criminal acts to take place. Cohen and Felson (1979, pg. 588) claim that, “Most criminal acts require convergence in space and time of likely offenders, suitable targets and the absence of

As there has been much writing and discussion about crime, why has there been little success in its reduction?

2409 words - 10 pages Untitled As there has been much writing and discussion about crime, why has there been little success in its reduction? In this essay I will argue that despite the enormous volume of criminological writing and debate which has taken place throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, the resulting theories which have emerged have tended to each focus too heavily on one particular aspect of crime and its control and as such, have

Similar Essays

Criminological Theory And Legal Theory Essay

2022 words - 9 pages Criminological Theory Rational Choice Rational choice is based on the presumption that crime is a personal choice and that people can freely choose to participate in such criminal activity based on the outcomes, whether it be negative or positive. A person may choose to engage in a crime because it may seem rewarding and pleasurable. On the other hand, a person may decide to avoid participating in criminal activity from their fear of being

Sociology : Criminology. Criminological Theory And Research

2623 words - 10 pages that connects, integrates and explains them. A good theory is extremely valuable in that it extends our knowledge beyond the facts in front of us (the raw data), enabling us to predict how others might behave at another time and in another place (Bourne and Russo, 1998 p. 33). Criminological theories based on biology, psychology were both, at one stage dominant in the field, however the vast majority of current criminological text employs

Robert Merton’s Work And Criminological Theory

799 words - 3 pages ). Criminological Theory: Robert K. Merton. Florida: Florida State University, Centre for Criminology and Public Policy Research. Retrieved from Gold, G. & Bernard, T. (1986). Theoretical criminology. New York: Oxford University Press. Hunt, M. (1961, January 28). How does it come to be so? Profile of Robert K. Merton. The New Yorker, pg. 39–63. Johnson, D. (1981). Sociological theory

The Contribution Of Robert Merton’s Work To Criminological Theory

2269 words - 9 pages Merton’s work has contributed greatly to criminological theory as he took a different perspective than Durkheim’s concept of anomie and reworked to the American context. The theories and concepts of anomie and strain that Merton argued have influenced the works of Cohen as well as the New Deviancy Theory and the New Penology. Therefore, Strain theory has evolved across time to encompass different situational circumstances of crime. Furthermore
Subaru Impreza Wrx Sti Gdb 2001 X1 Unit Front Half Cut All Parts Fob Japan | EUR 9,99 | Chefs Table (12)