Social Structure Theory

777 Words4 Pages
Many people ask, why does crime occur, who commits the crimes and why. We also ask the question of whether or not economic class, race, ect, has anything to do with why crime occurs. Theories have been conjured upon these acts to try to give meaning on why, what happens takes place. In this essay I would like to take the time to explain these theories to help others understand and maybe change their own viewpoints. Crime can affect the way individuals perceive others generally creating bias and prejudice within a person’s frame of thought; hopefully we can make someone think a little differently. Social structure theories generally put forth that the disadvantaged economic class is a primary cause of crime. It states that neighborhoods which are “lower class” create forces of strain, disorganization, and frustration that lead to the action of crime, they have used these to put them into classes; social disorganization, strain theory and cultural deviance. Social disorganization theory suggests that slum dwellers violate the law because they live in areas where social control has broken down. The origin of social disorganization theory can be traced to the work of Shaw and McKay, who concluded that disorganized areas marked by divergent values and transitional populations produce criminality. Strain theories view crime as resulting from the anger people experience over their inability to achieve legitimate social and economic success. These theories hold that most people share common values and beliefs but the ability to achieve them is differentiated throughout the social structure. The best known strain theory is Merton's, which describes what happens when people have inadequate means to satisfy their needs. Cultural deviance theories hold that a unique value system develops in lower class areas. Lower-class values approve of behaviors such as being tough, never
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