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Social structure and crime

Uploaded by CaseyP on Aug 24, 2017

Social structure and crime
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There are factors in the society that play a significant role in the occurrence of crime or discrimination. Durkheim and Merton use sociological concepts to explain the causes of immoralities. They provided explanations on how social structures control the ability of an individual to engage in behaviors and activities that don’t conform to societal norms. Durkheim explains anomie using the difference in suicide rates across different religions (Nam, Parboteeah, Cullen & Johnson, 2014). He compared the differences between Protestants and Catholics, women and men, single and engaged people, and soldiers and civilians. Merton (1938) uses social structure and anomie to explain the origin of deviant behaviors in an individual. The two theorists have similarities in defining certain abnormalities in the society. This paper discusses what Merton draws from the concepts of Durkheim in explaining the contributions of social factors to deviant behaviors.
Merton borrows a lot from Durkheim. The former understood the influence of social factors on deviant behaviors by comparing different groups of people. His main interest was the reason why rates of deviance vary across different societies and different subgroups within a given society. He explains that individuals in the low class don’t have the same opportunities people in the high-class have. The comparison is evident in the way Durkheim explains the role of social factors on suicide rates across different religions, sexes and so on (Durkheim & Thompson, 2004). The data from his study showed that there was a low suicide rate among the Catholics was a result of their social structures that are different from Protestants.
Merton (1938) adopts a concept from Durkheim to analyze the situations in which the society creates deviance and disunity. Both employed anomie but using different terms. In Durkheim’s usage, anomie is the phenomenon where cultural norms deviate as a result of a sudden change (Durkheim & Thompson, 2004). He gave the example of anomic suicide, which increased when members of the society are not able to achieve goals they pursue. In the theory of social structure and anomie, Merton changes the concept slightly to the situation where there is no consistency between norms of society that defines success in life and the norms that describe the appropriate ways of achieving success. The variables that define success and ways of achieving success are goals and means respectively. Merton (1938) used anomie as an explanation for the deviant behavior...

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Uploaded by:   CaseyP

Date:   08/24/2017

Category:   Sociology

Length:   3 pages (615 words)

Views:   966

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