Bloop Essay

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The structural strain theory was developed by Robert K. Merton as a part of the functionalist perspective on deviance. This theory traces the origins of deviance to the tensions caused by gaps between cultural goals and the means people have available to achieve those goals. Societies are characterized by both culture and social structure. Culture establishes goals for people in society while social structure provides (or fails to provide) the means for people to achieve these goals. In a well-integrated society, people use accepted means to achieve the goals society establishes. When the means are out of balance with the goals, deviance is likely to occur. This imbalance between cultural goals and structurally available means can compel the individual into deviant behavior. Going back, society has been compared to a biological organism. Just as all parts of the body contribute to the overall health of the whole organism, so the basic institutions and patterns of society contribute to the functioning of the whole society. For example, you may already be familiar with the background of Durkheim's sociology. He was educated during the second republic, a time of more or less democratic rule in France after a long period of alternating instability, kings and emperors, and he was intensely interested in how to maintain social cohesion and stability under a democratic system. Ultimately, he became convinced of the importance of the collective conscience, a concept that combines our ideas of culture, consciousness, and conscience. He was arguing against the predominance of individualistic emphases in psychology and economics and was convinced that a society where everyone looked out strictly for his/her own self-interest would be a sociological monstrosity. In this context, he discovered an important function for crime and talked about the normality of crime. Not only can

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