the criminology and criminal justice network
I'm revising for my final university exams... one of the subject areas is the Strain Theory. But I'm a little confused with such theories as to me they sound extremely far fetched and do not have any strong foundations.
So far, the very basics denote that usually lower classes within society are under pressure or 'strain' from higher classes, whether it be through; opportunity (or lack of), financial, social status, education, etc...
But alot of it refers to volume crime (stealing cars, burglary, theft, etc...) to be due to strains between those who are deprived and those who are not. But surely this would only mean that crime is being committed as a necessity? Not because of strains or pressures from higher classes? I can understand that perhaps those who commit such crime believe they must aspire to have lots of money/high social status, and the only way they can achieve this is through those types of crime... but again, to me that would fall under some kind of Theory of Necessity, not Strain Theory.
Hope that wasn't too confusing? Would appreciate some clarification of the jist of Strain Theories... exam is on the 13th of May this year.
Attached is a lecture presentation that I'm using to revise from... feel free to have a look
Sorry for this late response. Here is what I think:
Strain theory is brilliaint because it not only applies to lower class street crime but also to upper class white collar crime. This is all linked to relative deprivation - you don't have to need the thing you are stealing, you just have to THINK you deserve it.
The strain doesn't come from the higher classes, the strain comes from the culturally prescribed goal - in this case - The american dream...
Hope that made sense,
Hi Ramona and everybody,
I have just finished my master thesis. I used strain theory to explain men criminality in Lithuania. I think that the only one theory cannot explain any social behaviour, so a researcher have to combine it with additional interpretations. As I have used Messerschmidt's ideas.
Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin - they renewed strain theory and explained criminal subcultures.
All the best,