Merton's theory of Anomie: Female gangs


Browse the report A study on ladies in gangs by Hong Kong Federation of Youth and measure the possible explanations proposed by Merton's strains towards anomie theory.

After reading the report A Study on Young ladies in Gang by Hong Kong Federation of Youngsters, to a big amount I disagree to Merton's tension towards anomie theory.

Let's begin with this is of Ladies in Gang. First of all, Girls in Gang means those ladies are not add in any triad or serious unlawful circumstances like murder, nonetheless they mainly committed in physical violence, stealing from shop or strangers, dishonesty to use their phone or bullying a lot of people that they certainly it for fun. Subsequently, they aged from 10 to 17 years old. Thirdly, gang associates are or above 3 people. (Chu Yiu Kong, An Research of Young ones Gangs in Tin Shui Wai in Hong Kong) In addition, there are 5 types of composition in gangs. They can be autonomous which is girl-dominant, auxiliary which is also girl-dominant but also rely on guy gangs, mixed which included girls and boys, impartial group which is not control by anyone, satellite tv group which is girl-dominant, rely on young man gangs but independent. But what we realize is, auxiliary and satellite television are the key structures that have been more common in Hong Kong modern culture, and the decision-making are mainly from the guys.

According to the theory of Structural Functionalism, the world is co-related. The cultural relationship extending over time and form stable patterns of connections, then these set ups in turn constituted social companies when time's ended up. Therefore the interpersonal problem happens when function of institution is not being performed properly, results from the malfunctioning. Also, from Merton's theory, ' deviant habit and communal disorganization were individual and different; tended to see each as creating the other. ' (Merton, 1938)

In the truth of Girls in Gangs, there is breakdown in the social relationship of these family, which cannot achieve prerequisite of socialization to be able to inherit values, social norms, customs or ideologies by the population. Which means their romance cannot engage those girls in such a way that we find appropriate and appropriate. At the same time, their family cannot give out as the role of the family will such as provide them with love and belonging, financial support. Thus, women may easily accept the deviant habits such as sign up for gang to satisfy their needs.

Refer to Merton's theory of strains towards anomie culture, distinct deviance into ethnical structure and public framework. First, anomie means the low level of moral rules which regard as normlessness, on the main one hand, it is about when we are absolve to act rather than constrained by social norms. Second, ethnical constructions means a hierarchy of distributed ideals that govern our behaviors and offer us with ethnical goal like achievement on education or job, material comfort of prosperity. On the other hand, 'social structure means institutional norms which define and control the acceptable setting of attaining these goals. '(Merton, 1938) Quite simply, is to provide genuine means where members can follow their goals. From his theory, there are five types of adaptations to attain either ethnic goals or public means. To a sizable extent, I agree to the conformity adaptations, but small extent agree to the ritualism adaptations, the development adaptation, the rebellion adaptations and the retreatism adaptation did suitable to the situation of girls join gangs in Hong Kong. The reason why are as of the next.

The statement of ' A study on Ladies in Gangs' show that the number of reasons of the girls become a member of gangs because of psychological attachment and safety. As almost all of the interviewees responded that these were lack of affiliation, which they don't have a good or even lack of relationship with their family, school or working place. To be able to accomplish their mental needs or psychological attachment, they became a member of gangs to achieve the conformity with other people in order to lower the loneliness. Besides, ladies in gangs will be called as 'ah-so', English means either sister-in-law or girlfriend, or 'ka -mui', in British means little sister, both names did not have a direct relationship, but somehow they can get security from the gangs because of what their artificial relationship is merely as identical to the true family. This composition represents that the lady taking part in gangs is trying to achieve their ethnic goal plus they do have social means which is join gangs. Thus, girls participate in gangs does regard as an conformity adaptations given that they have their social goals and sociable means.

According to the statement, " A report on Young girls in Gangs", both interviewees told that these were pleasant and happy because of they can enjoy free entertainment when they join gangs. (18 years old, student) They'll go to sing karaoke, dancing or go to mainland sometimes, rely upon where in fact the gangs go, and the girls in gangs need not pay hardly any money, which for boys showing their gentleness and power. (16 years of age, employee). From the study, it presents girls do have ethnic goal which is free entertainment respect as use the interpersonal means, however they use the same means which do not have any new goals or new means. In addition, the world was also suppose the goal as materialism or material comfort, when they didn't achieve their goals in legitimacy means, so they will reject the mean. Therefore, the ritualism adaptation which refers as no goals but with means cannot apply in this case.

Nonetheless, the article " A study on Ladies in Gangs", One of the interviewees said that she joins gang because of her boyfriend is one of the users in gangs. (16, student)Furthermore, from what she has said, girls become a member of gangs may appear to have a new goal which is find a boyfriend and maintain a stable love relationship with the partner, but additionally it is talk about they need emotional connection, love and owed by the mean. Thus, rebellion version which have new goals and new means, and technology adaptation that have goals and new means aren't applicable in young girls become a member of gangs in Hong Kong, because they do not have the new goals and new means.

The above article data's also shown some of girls know that when they need to leave the gang. The survey shown that women join gangs which they think they were smart enough to safeguard themselves, plus they know what they are doing, they always does something for aim. (18, worker) This implies that they aren't as what retreatlism adaptation means have no goals no methods to do some deviant habit, and what Merton respect as true deviant. Therefore, retreatlism adaptation cannot apply in this case, as girls join gangs for goals.

In our life, different countries or places may bring a different social structure. Compare to America, Hong Kong is hardly ever have serious unlawful cases, and the girls in gangs which were completely different. Merton's theory can clarify why rates of deviant behavior are higher in some sectors of the modern culture than in others. 'American culture is characterized by great focus on the deposition of wealth as a success symbol without a corresponding emphasis on using legitimate means to match toward their goal. '(Marshall B. Clinard, 1964) Refer to the idea, it advised that in America society, if the main one who want to achieve goals to be wealthy, they may use any means leaned success, even unlawful or legal should be accepted by the theory. Thus, American are usually more focus on prosperity, , nor care all other things such as relationship, love, caring, academic, and they may not facing the same problems of Hong Kong ladies in gangs which was lack of affiliation or facing inability. Then, compare to the situation of Hong Kong young girls in gangs, mainly worried about the emotional attachment and conformity, sign up for gangs seek as an equipment to accomplish their conformity, they could have goals nevertheless they do not have any new means. So in this way, Merton's theory may not be appropriate to use on girls sign up for gangs in Hong Kong culture which is more relevant on American contemporary society.

Last however, not least, Hong Kong ladies sign up for gangs should be regarding something they need like affiliation to attain with means, which is Hong Kong young girls join gangs were hoping to get conformity by meet their emotional connection, love and belonging. So conformity version of the Merton's theory is the only person can apply and suit on the girls sign up for gangs in Hong Kong. Alternatively, young girls in gang of Hong Kong modern culture need to satisfy their need with means, however, not with new goals or new means, so other adaptation of the Merton's theory might not exactly be the better to apply in Women in Gangs of Hong Kong contemporary society. Therefore, to a big amount I disagree to Merton's pressure towards anomie theory.

Reference Readings

  1. Chu, Yiu Kong (2005)"An evaluation of Youngsters Gangs in Tin Shui Wai in Hong Kong" in Hong Kong Journal of Sociable Sciences NO. 29 Planting season/Summer 2005.
  2. Clinard, Marshall B. (1995) "Robert Merton: Anomie and Friendly Structure" in Earl Eubington and Martin S. Weinberg ed. The analysis of Social Problems - Seven Perspectives, London : Oxford University or college Press.
  3. Haralambos, Michael and Holborn, Martin (2000) Sociology - Designs and Perspectives, London Collins.
  4. Mok, Wayne and Chan Shui-ching(2008) A study on Girls in Gangs, Hong Kong : Research Centre, Hong Kong Federation of Children Group.
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