Anomie Strain/ Differential Opportunity Theory

Page 1 of 7

Anomie Strain/ Differential Opportunity Theory

By | April 2012
Page 1 of 7
Compare and Contrast; Anomie Strain and Differential Opportunity Theories

Introduction- This paper will cover Anomie Strain, and Differential Opportunity theory. This will be done by an overview and explanations of the two theories, and by comparing and contrasting the theories based on the explanations Robert Merton, Richard Cloward, and Lloyd Ohlin proposes. To begin, the question that inspired Robert Merton, Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin was to explore what was the cause and explanation of why delinquents commit delinquent acts. Robert Merton created and dedicated his research on this question that later developed into his theory that he named Anomie Strain theory. Using the framework of Robert Merton, Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin created their own theory in response, which is now known as the Differential Opportunity theory. A more in depth explanations of the theories would help give an in depth understanding of the similarities and differences of Anomie Strain Theory and Differential Opportunity Theory. This will help explain the question on why delinquents commit delinquent acts.

Anomie Strain was a Theory developed by an American Sociologist Robert Merton. The past works of Emile Durkheim influenced anomie strain theory, where the idea of anomie was first introduced as a state of normlessness. According to (Regoli, Hewitt and Delisi, 2010 p.190) described it as, ” A state where a normative structure is disrupted and a state of chaos results, which then produces a state of anomie, or a state with no social norms to follow.” Robert Merton then furthered Durkheim’s idea of anomie and produced what is now called anomie strain theory. Regoli et al. (2010) defined anomie as a, “Permanent disjuncture between cultural goals that are worth striving for, and institutionalized means or approved ways of reaching these goals”(pg.191). What this means is that in each society there are cultural goals that individuals would like to strive for, and there...