Strain Theory

Strain Theory  Chapter 6          Due Monday 11/16/2020 by 5:00 PM

Answer all questions.

  1. Define strain theory? Why is it a structural issue? Hint: So, people are taught to want things via culture/mass media, yes!  But, how do they get things (materialism)? What happens to people who want things but there is no ladder to reach things.  What do they do? They want the goals, the cars, money, etc., they accept the goals, but they have to “innovate” that is, go around the ladder because there is no ladder, to reach the goals.  And, others have many advantages to get things, so for them, not as much structural strain? The ladder is already there for them.  Money, social class, inheritance, is there so, no need to go around the ladder.
  2. Again, the strain comes from the culture putting it out there to want things, but, no way to get there for many. Except go around the system
  3. In what ways does do strain theories explain the behavior of street gangs?
  4. Which version of strain theories would best explain the overrepresentation of of homicides in inner-city areas?
  5. According to general strain theory , what factors would likely lead to criminal behavior?
  6. According to Robert K. Merton there are 5 individual modes of adaptation to structural stress, not all of them deviant. People respond to this structural stress in different ways.  Explain in detail each of these 5 individual modes of adaptation. DO NOT merely list these modes, but EXPLAIN  EACH ONE.
  7. Thinking about your own life, what sorts of negative strains have you experiences? How did you deal with them? (negative strain=negative relationships one cannot escape from. Such as when adolescents cannot leave a relationship if they experiences them as “noxious.” And, if they try to escape from a bad situation they may then be arrested for truancy or running away)

Below are some ideas to think about concerning strain theory……for example:

  1. K. Cohen

1 Lower class Americans embrace the middle class ethic

2 Socialization of the lower class hinders their ability to compete

3 Decreased ability to compete produces strain

4 Increased strain produces identification with delinquent subculture

The delinquent subculture

Identification with delinquent subculture produces delinquent behavior

  1. Cloward and Ohlin
  2. Success ethic is a prized possession of all Americans
  3. Opportunities for success are not distributed equally through the class structure
  4. Blocked opportunities produce strain
  5. Strain produces delinquent subcultures

1) criminal subculture

2) conflict subculture

3) retreatist subculture

  1. Delinquent subcultures produce delinquent behavior?
  2. Impact on social policy?

1) Mobilization for Youth

2) War on Poverty (heroic theme)

  1. Adequacy of Strain Theory- conceptually
  2. determinism
  3. class
  4. American dream
  5. school failure
  6. sense of strain
  7. delinquent subculture