The landscape of commerce underwent a striking transformation with the introduction of coordinated methods of distribution, sales and advertising. The third claim of functional analysis that Merton argues with is that of indispensability.
Thus the cultural goal asserted is one of material wealth, in the absence of any other forms of deriving status it is the possession of and display of wealth that becomes exalted and aspired to. The opposite of the "self-defeating prophecy" then, is the "self-fulfilling prophecy", when an originally unfounded prophecy turns out to be correct because it is believed and acted upon.
Merton cites examples, such as civil wars, African-Americans in the s and South African blacks during the apartheid regime as instances where societies were not necessarily functional for all people.
In this case the individual loses sight of what they are striving for the goals and becomes obsessive about the means.
The pursuit of infinite aspirations was not seen by Merton as an innate human tendency However, most of the research found that this was not the case. Here, Merton argues, people must be willing to admit that there exist various structural and functional alternatives within society.
It is through this "role strain" that social action and social structure are maintained. Due to these role relationships that individuals may feel "role strain", or difficulty fulfilling their sociological duties in the relationship.
An example of these studies was a study done by Travis Hirschi in the Illegitimate opportunity Illegitimate opportunities is a sociology theory developed in by Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin.
Criticism[ edit ] Strain theory has received several criticisms, such as: Like Durkheim and Parsons he analyzes society with reference to whether cultural and social structures are well or badly integrated.
This contention, however, became less tenable as the onset of the Great Depression saw social disorganisation and insecurity become a more pervasive presence throughout society. Another way of putting this is to say that Merton was not sufficiently critical of the social structure he argued had generated such strains.
In China, rural young women appreciate gender egalitarianism advocated by the communist government, but at the same time, they are trapped in cultural sexual discrimination as traditionally cultivated by Confucianism. While the theory of role strain attempts to attribute the maintenance of society to role relationships, Goode also acknowledges that the theory does not account for the existence of more complex social settings, such as that of urban society.
Psychological strains in the form of all the four sources have been tested and supported with a sample of suicide notes in the United States and in rural China through psychological autopsy studies.
Therefore, positive functions and dysfunctions cannot be simply added up and objectively determine which outweighs the other. This outlook maintains that various parts of social systems must show a high level of integration, but Merton argues that a generalization like this cannot be extended to larger, more complex societies.
Theories of the middle range should be firmly supported by empirical data. His example from his piece, "Manifest and Latent Functions", was an analysis of political machines.
Merton clarified the concept by stating that a certain degree of social cohesion eases the productivity of a group and is therefore functional, but it can become dysfunctional when it surpasses a certain threshold, because then the members of the group may become equally indulgent and fail to hold each other to high performance standards.
A necessary adjunct to the growth of mass production and mass distribution was mass consumption.Merton's Strain Theory. Whereas Durkheim's explanations were a reflection of the social conditions that were occurring in France at the time of his writing, Robert Merton's contribution towards offering an analysis of social order was enormously influenced by the social and economic character of American society.
Robert K. Merton was born on 4 July in Philadelphia as Meyer Robert transcend sheer description of social phenomena and fill in the blanks between raw empiricism and grand or all-inclusive theory.
Strain Theory. Merton argued that general strain theory is developed by this blockage in an individual's life which doesn't allow them. Merton’s Strain Theory of Deviance Posted on April 16, by Karl Thompson Strain Theory was first developed by Robert Merton in the s to explain the rising crime rates experienced in the USA at that time.
Strain theory frames deviant behavior as a result of disconnects between common goals and the availability of legitimate means for attaining them. Deviance and Strain Theory in Sociology An Overview of Robert Merton's Theory of Deviance.
Share Flipboard Email Print In Merton's theory of strain. The Social Strain Theory by Robert K. Merton The Social Strain Theory by Robert K. Merton Name. Institution. Introduction. In its simplest understanding, the strain theory asserts that there are certain factors in the society such as stressors and strains that can predispose an individual to committing crime.
Strain theory, developed by Robert K. Merton, argued that society may be set up in a way that encourages too much deviance. Merton believed there was a disjunction between socially approved means.Download