Social Structure Theories
Instructor John Wagner
October 9, 2012
Social structure theories are theories that aim to describe criminal behavior. These theories have been used for years to decipher the many aspects that plan a hand in people committing various crimes. The three main theories are social disorganization theory, strain theory, and cultural deviance theory. Each theory is different in determining the factors that cause criminal behavior. Also these theories have had a significant impact on different public policies.
Social disorganization theory focuses on conditions in the environment. This theory focuses on run-down neighborhoods, gangs, lack of social control, and conflicting social values as factors that produce crime. When a person is living in a run-down neighborhood with gang violence it may be hard for them to imagine anything else even getting out. Once a person becomes acclimated to a situation it then becomes the norm and when it does become the norm it is viewed as being okay to live that way. Also with this theory is gang violence. In deteriorated neighborhoods there is little to no structure or organization and some crave this in their daily lives. Also the need for belonging also plays a part in gang formation. These factors contribute to the high amount of gangs and the violence that come along with them due to conflicting social values.
The social strain theory focuses on conflict between goals and means. This conflict has to do with unequal distribution of wealth and power, frustration, and choosing alternative methods of achievement. Unlike the social disorganization theory which is concerned with environment the social strain theory is more focused on goals and the means to obtain them. Crime can be associated with a lack of education, lack of a good job, and the lack of opportunity to obtain either. What it really boils down to is the lack...
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