Merton’s Strain Theory
The social roots of delinquency have been analyzed using theories developed by sociologists as well as criminologists. . Some of them view delinquency as a function of one individual while others describe it from the macro level of societal structure (Bernard 1984). . The theories that will be presented here will be applicable to analyze crime and delinquency in society. . Society has embedded many ideas promoting success in life. . It puts a large emphasis on money, power, commodities, and material goods to prove who we are and how much one has accomplished. Unfortunately, we are all given the idea that success is one universal lifestyle and we should all aim to work towards it. However, only a few have the means to attain these goals. . In this paper, I will discuss the correlation between social classes and delinquency. It is important to find the root of the delinquency in order to start eliminating it, leading to a brighter future for those in a lower-class, enabling the youth to have fair opportunities in society. . It is a widespread opinion that youth from lower socioeconomic class is more open for delinquency and crime. . Through the theories of such sociologists as Merton, Cohen, Cloward, and Ohlin I will try to prove that this opinion is right. . The strain theory is similar to the structural functionalism and argues that “people who commit crimes have basically the same values as everybody else.., however, the avenues for the achievement of success are greatly restricted for people in the lower class. . Thus, they are faced with a cruel dilemma: . either they abandon the major American values of success and prosperity or they abandon another – obedience of the law” (Leighninger 331).