Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior Author(s): Richard A. Cloward Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., ), pp. The research paper Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior written by Richard A. Cloward can be found in American Sociological. Illegitimate Means, Anomie and Deviant Behavior. Front Cover. Richard A. Cloward. Bobbs-Merrill, – Anomy – 13 pages.

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This possibility helps to account measn the fact that certain categories of individuals cited as retreatists -for example, hobos-often show extensive histories of arrests and convictions for various illegal acts.

It focusses, in short, upon variations in the availability of legitimate means. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http: In summary,Merton extends the theory of anomie in two principal ways. The first, exemplifiedby the work of Emile Durkheim and Robert K.

Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior

This study specifically centered around troubled neighborhoods in Detroit, and the results were based on census data taken of these neighborhoods, mainly iloegitimate this data contained information on each individual resident’s use of drugs. The University of Chicago Press,p. In addition, the individuals within the society are not bound to one role relationship.

The little fellowswent in for petty stealing, breaking into freight cars, and stealingjunk. The theory was created from Merton’s strain theory to help address juvenile delinquency.

Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior – Richard A. Cloward – Google Books

If the individual turns to innovating devices, the question of whether or not he becomes a retreatist may then depend upon the relative accessibility of illegitimate means. These groups exerciseda powerful influence and tendedto createa communityspiritwhich not only toleratedbut actually fostered delinquentand criminalpractices. The Case of Retreatism.

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. He explicitly identifies types of anomic or malintegrated societies by focussing upon the relationship between cultural goals mans norms. Sociology Final Exam Review.


Social sources of delinquency: The olderguys did big jobs like stick-up, burglary, and stealing autos. According to strain theory, this lack of resources may compel an individual to abuse drugs to attain the positively valued goal of happiness by using the means that are currently available, [15] which in the case of rough neighborhoods, were drugs.

Rather, these persons are closely integrated with the occupants of conventional roles. Those and the integration of adult carriers of criminal who come to excel in these respectsare fre- and conventional values.

His object was to show how, under these conditions, men are bejavior to aspire to goals extremely difficult if not impossible to attain. Several such states were identified, including sudden depression, sudden prosperity, and rapid technological change. Merton has systematized and extended the theory, directing attention to patterns of disjunction between culturally prescribed goals and socially organized access to them by legitimate means.

Merton behvior that socially accepted goals put pressure on people to conform. It also helps to explain retreatist adaptations among individuals who have not necessarily internalized strong restraints on the use of illegitimate means.

To this end, Agnew proposed a general strain theory that is neither structural nor interpersonal but rather individual and emotional, paying special attention to an individual’s immediate mewns environment. Here, described general drives and values, such as the happiness claims Kobrin, there is not merely structural anc, striving for social status, the money motive, or frustration, have been and must integration between carriers of the two continue to be futile since they explain lawful behavior as completely as they explain criminal value systems, but reciprocal participation behavior.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The conflict is resolved by abandoning both precipitating elements, the goals and means.

Whyte, Street Corner Society, original edition, Oxford Bibliographies Online Datasets. 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.


When one value is more important than the other, there is then little or no strain.

Strain theory (sociology)

A Replication and Behavjor. The theory also focuses on the perspective of goals for status, expectations and class rather than focusing on money as Merton’s theory does. If particular rejections are generalized into feelings that the environment is unsupportive,more strongly negative emotions may motivate the individual to engage in crime. 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.

On the one handthey are asked to orient their behaviortowardthe prospect of large wealth.

Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior

From this data, the study found that the more disadvantaged a neighborhood is, the more its residents abuse drugs. In their studies of the ecology of deviant behavior in the urban environment, Shaw and McKay found that delinquency and crime tended to be confined to delimited areas and, furthermore, that such behavior persisted despite demographic changes in these areas.

Retrieved from ” https: Strain theory has received several criticisms, such as: Thus skills required behavilr certain crimes need not be learned in association with criminals; they can be acquired through conventional learning. Shaw and McKay were describing deviant learning structures-that is, alternative routes by which people seek access to the goals which society holds to be worthwhile.

When faced with strain, people have five ways to adapt: The latter emphasis may be detected in the work of Shaw, McKay, Sutherland, and others in the “cultural transmission” and “differential association” mean.