Anomie or “Strain” Theories
Emile Durkheim
 French Sociologist
 Suicide
 Coined the Term “Anomie”:
– When “institutionalized norms” lose their meaning and ability to
control human behavior and needs
 Mechanical
vs. Organic Solidarity
Robert K. Merton
 Social Structure and Anomie (1938)
 From Durkheim: Institutionalized norms
are weakened in
societies that place an intense value on economic success
 Applied this to the United States
– Culturally Valued Goals
– Institutionalized Means
Anomie -- Macro Level
 The “road not taken”
 Explanation of high crime
rates in the United States?
– Follows close to Durkheim
– Gist = Unrestrained American capitalism and fetish with money
creates anomie
 Picked
up by Messner and Rosenfeld
Strain Theory--Anomie at the Micro Level
 Cultural
Goal in U.S.?
– This goal is universal
– (The American Dream)
 Institutionalized
– Due to the social structure in the U.S., the means are unequally
– Segment of society with no way to attain goal b/c they lack
Strain Theory (Micro)
Support for Micro Strain Theory
 Typically
tested as the disjuncture between educational or
economic “aspirations” and “expectations”
 Little empirical support for this
– Delinquents tend to have low expectations and aspirations
– More recent tests have found some weak support
Criticisms of Merton and “Strain” Theory
 Is crime a “lower class” phenomena?
 Why ritualist vs. innovator?
 Cannot explain “expressive” crimes
 Weak empirical support
 Hirschi = “Oversocialized Man”
Exam I
 Evaluating
– Know Criteria
– Know which are most important
– Be able to apply them to the theories that we’ve discussed
Deterrence Theory
 Roots
 Specific vs. General
 Macro vs. Micro
 How would you measure
the concepts at both the micro
and macro level?
 Empirical Support and Policy Implications
Rational Choice / Opportunity
 Don’t
memorize Cornish and Clarke
– Focus more on Deterrence theory
 Important
only as an example of a RCT that goes beyond
“pure utility”
– Why criticize if theorists go beyond “pure utility” or “pure
 Routine
Activity Theory
Social Learning Theory
 Focus
on the Sutherland--Akers tradition.
– Basic concepts of each(model for Akers)
– How Akers modified Differential Association
– Policy implications and empirical support
– Measures and criticism of the measures
Gerald Patterson
 Know the theory (diagram)
 Policy Implications
 Is he a control or learning theorist?
Control Theories
 Early
control theories
– Nye, Reckless
 Hirschi
– Social Bond Theory
 Gottfredson
and Hirschi (1990)
– The General Theory
Hirschi (1969)
 How criticize early control theories?
 Assumptions about human nature
 Elements of the bond
 Empirical Support
 Policy Implications
Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990)
 Nature of crime, nature of criminals
 Causes of low self-control
 Consequences of low self-control
 Description of low self-control
 Policy Implications / Empirical Support
 Social Bond vs. General Theory
– Similarities and Differences
Pirate Variables
 Sykes and Matza’s Techniques of
 Criminal Parents, Criminal Peers