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Merton's theory

Compare and contrast Merton's theory and the labelling theory of deviance.

I. Introduction

Your Article Outline

Write about Compare and contrast Merton's theory and the labelling theory of deviance in the first word. Summarize Mertons Theory in the second sentence. Summarize Labelling Theory of Deviance in the second sentence. Summarize Comparions & distinction in the third sentence. Briefly summarize So in short, both theories make an effort to explain criminal offenses from a cultural point of view but one clarifies why crime starts while the other one clarifies why crime continues. in the final word of the first paragraph.

In second paragraph you need to increase on Mertons Theory. Write one word summarizing Mertons Theory. Then write two sentences expounding on Mertons Theory. Make sure to less difficult your debate for Mertons Theory. In the ultimate sentence transition from Mertons Theory to Labelling Theory of Deviance

In third paragraph you need to broaden on Labelling Theory of Deviance. Write one phrase summarizing Labelling Theory of Deviance. Then write two phrases expounding on Labelling Theory of Deviance. Make sure to online backup your debate for Labelling Theory of Deviance. In the final sentence move from Labelling Theory of Deviance to Comparions & compare.

In fourth paragraph you need to extend on Comparions & compare. Write one sentence summarizing Comparions & distinction. Then write two sentences expounding on Comparions & contrast. Make sure to back up your discussion for Comparions & comparison. In the final sentence changeover from Comparions & contrast to your So in short, both theories try to explain crime from a communal point of view but one explains why crime commences as the other one talks about why crime persists. .

In the fifth and final paragraph, summarize Mertons Theory again. Summarize Labelling Theory of Deviance again. Summarize Comparions & compare again. Then write two sentences saying your So in a nutshell, both theories try to explain criminal offense from a public perspective but one talks about why crime starts while the other one explains why crime goes on. .

Outline and determine the structionalist themes of crime and deviance

Structural theories of deviance act like Merton's theory. They explain the origins of deviance in conditions of the position of people or groups in the social structure.

In the 1930's Robert k Merton had written articles entitled Social Framework and Anomie. It became one of the most influential explanations of criminal offense and deviance. He offered a social rather than psychological or biological description. Specifically, it was a structionalist theory as it noticed the composition of population shaping individuals behaviour.

According to Merton, American culture attaches great importance to success - and success is assessed in conditions of money and material possessions. You will discover norms which identify legitimate means for achieving success. These genuine means include getting skills and skills and a better job. The American goal states that anyone can make it to the most notable if indeed they try hard enough. So much emphasis is positioned on materials success that lots of people experience pressure to deviate from accepted norms and prices. Deviance occurs when they reject the goals of success and/or the authentic means of achieving that goal. For example, many people are tempted to make use of nay method of getting to the top-even if that involves criminal behaviour. Merton identifies this pressure as a 'pressure to anomie'. Anomie means normlessness - it identifies a predicament where norms no more guide behaviour, where 'anything should go'.

Despite what the American dream says, not every person has an identical chance at success. The sociable structure prevents identical opportunity. Specifically, the strain to anomie is most highly believed by those in the bottom of the category structure. These are less likely to acquire skills and qualifications needed to reach the most notable. As a result, they will seek alternative routes to success.

Merton recognizes five possible adaptations or reactions to the strain to anomie in American population, conformity, development, ritualism, retreatism, rebellion. Conformity regarding to Merton, most people conform despite the strain to anomie. Even if indeed they don't make it, they continue steadily to strive for success and follow the normative means of getting there. Technology, people who choose the deviant adaptation accept the goals of success but, in Merton's words, they may have 'little usage of conventional and reliable means to becoming successful. ' Because of this, some innovate-they use legitimate means, to criminal offenses. The pressure to choose this version is biggest for those in the low degrees of the school system. Ritualism, people who follow this deviant path abandon the goal of success, but stick rigidly to the guidelines- for example, people in useless end, white collar occupations that follow their job information to the notice. Retreatism, this deviant version involves a rejection of both the goal of success and the normative means of obtaining it. It pertains to people who 'drop out'- tramps, medication lovers and habitual drunkards. Rebellion, this calls for a rejection of conventional goals and means and their alternative with alternatives. The brand new who seeks to improve society illustrates this type of deviant version.

Merton's tension theory was an early on attempt to make clear criminal offense and deviance in terms of culture and composition of population. It provided a sociological alternative to biological and mental health theories. In particular, it offered an explanation for working course offense. Whatever its weaknesses, Merton's work provided a spur for the development of further ideas of crime and deviance.

Merton's theory does raise a number of unanswered questions. First, why do people but not others choose deviant adaptations? For example, why do many people in the lower levels of the course system decide on criminal offenses but others do not? Second of all, Merton's theory focuses on individuals somewhat than groups. Crime and deviance tend to be collective activities. How do this be described in terms of tension theory? Thirdly, criminal offenses and deviance aren't always motivated by a desire for financial gain. How can activities such as vandalism and preventing between rival gangs be described in conditions of Merton's theory? Browsing for these answers subculural theory was shaped.

Subcultural theories describe deviance in conditions of the subculture of your social group. They claim that certain teams develop norms and worth which to some extent not the same as those performed by other participants of society. For instance, some sets of criminals or delinquents might develop norms that encourage and reward unlawful activity. Other associates of contemporary society may respect such activities as immoral, and firmly disapprove of these.

Subcultual theories declare that deviance is the result of individuals conforming to the norms and values of the public group to that they belong. Participants of subcultures aren't very different from other participants of contemporary society: they could speak the same dialect, wear similar clothes, and connect the same value to family life. However, their subculture is sufficiently not the same as the culture of world as a whole to lead to them committing functions that are usually thought to be deviant. Often, structural and sub ethnic theories are mixed, just as Albert Cohen's examination of delinquency. The introduction of subcultures is discussed in conditions of the position of groups and people in the social structure.

Cohen was the first sociologist to develop a subcultual theory of working category criminal offense and deviance. He examined delinquent gangs in low-income, interior city areas. Delinquency refers to the legal and anti public acts of teenagers.

Cohen arranged with Merton that the mainstream value of success creates problems for young working category males. Many do terribly at college and neglect to find the skills and skills necessary for success.

Employing Durkheim's idea of anomie, Robert K Merton, an American sociologist, developed his theory of deviance by analysing the American prize system. Merton's argument is the fact that in a well-regulated culture, goals and the method of obtaining these goals are integrated in that they can be found to all in society. In some societies the accepted method of attaining these goals are not available to all, hence those who want to achieve the goals, but cannot do so through reputable means, must adapt to the problem. Merton presented a typology describing the settings of version. The essential requirement of the typology is the partnership between the ethnical goals and the institutionalised means of achieving them. I am going to illustrate the typology in the following paragraphs.

Howard S. Becker's labelling theory of deviance asserts that "deviance and conformity consequence, not really much from what people do, but from how others respond to those actions". It analyses how definitions for deviant behaviour are manufactured by social organizations.

Merton then packages out a typology of methods of adaptation in terms of conformity, or non-conformity, to social goals and institutionalised means:

1. Innovation - accepting ethnical goals but employing illegitimate means, for example, property fraud, cheats.

2. Ritualism - adherence to means whilst disregarding the goals, for example, bureaucratic adherence to tedious - going right through the motions.

3. Retreatism - withdrawal, opting out of socially described desirable behavior, for example, alcoholics, lovers.

4. Rebellion - not only rejection of goals and means, but a good try to replace them with substitute ideals, for example, political revolutionaries, spiritual prophets.

Merton's analysis shows that deviant behavior is practical. First, for the individuals involved, since it allows them to adjust to the circumstances where they find themselves. And second, for culture as a whole - since modes of individual adaptation help to maintain the boundaries between acceptable and non-acceptable forms of behaviour.


1. Non conformity, such as ritualism, is not actually the same as deviance (indeed with ritualism you choose to do the activities, but have the wrong thoughts - it's nearer blasphemy). It does not present the same stigmatising quality just as the label 'deviant'.

2. The assumption of ethnical consensus is implicit in the idea of ethnical goals, and ignores the probability of sub-cultures and a pluralistic culture, where social goals might are different considerably.

3. It generally does not really give a causal theory as to why some teams might change via rebellion among others by retreatism. Obviously some form of socialised dedication and differential associations becomes crucial for influencing perceptions of the alternatives to conformity. It does not explain motion into deviant employment opportunities.

4. It generally does not remember that just as genuine methods to success are limited, that so too are the illegitimate opportunities. Not everyone has identical access to unlawful sub-cultures. An evaluation of the opportunities for deviant activity is necessary.

However, Merton never said that his typology was a complete theory of deviance and many of the criticisms of his work were found on and improvements attempted by sub-cultural theorists.


Merton's stress theory is basically a conclusion of why people commit criminal offenses. His approach requires considering how people recognize reject or redefine our ethnic goals according to the means open to them in accepting those goals. So for example, success is the goal, the properly accepted way to have success in America is through the belief that hard work are certain to get us success. But many people work hard and aren't successful. So one adjustment is always to reject the idea that hard work is how to be successful and replace which means of reaching success with an alternative method such as reselling drugs. You achieve financial success without effort.

Labeling theory is also an effort to explain criminal offense from a sociological position. However labeling theory talks about why a person persists committing a offense but does not explain why they dedicated a crime to begin with.

So in short, both theories try to explain criminal offenses from a cultural point of view but one talks about why crime starts while the other one explains why crime remains.

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