Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

8.1 Describe the early theories of social structure presented in the 19th century.
8.2 Identify Émile Durkheim’s contributions to the evolution of social structure theories.
8.3 Explain why Robert K. Merton’s theory of strain become popular when it did, as well as how his conceptualization of “anomie” differed from Durkheim’s.
8.4 Identify some of the revisions or variations of strain theory and note how they differ from Merton’s original theory.
8.5 Discuss how Robert Agnew’s proposed model of general strain added more sources of strain to Merton’s original framework.
8.6 Identify some ways the various models of strain theory have informed the making of policies intended to reduce criminality.