Criminology Robert Merton Was The Brain Behind Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Sociology Type: Essay Paper: #42378183 Related Topics: Gangster, Youth Gangs, Deviance, Organized Crime
Excerpt from Essay :


Robert Merton was the brain behind Anomie Theory. This theory majors on deviance. The theory's major preoccupation is why rates of deviance differ from one society to the other and from one subgroup that come from one society to the other. Merton's work emphasizes cultures' unifying aspects and how it can create deviance and disunity within a society. Cultural norms, according to this theory, break down as a result of rapid changes that take place. The theory attributes occurrence of Anomic suicide to the occurrence of major economic depression that makes people not to achieve the goals they had learned to pursue (Siegel, 2008). Anomic suicide can also occur when there is an economic boom. In such circumstances people fail to limit their goals and be satisfied with their achievements. There can be lack of fit with regard to culture's norm about what constitute success in life and the appropriate way to achieve the goals. Anomie contributes to high rates of


It is also the reason behind distribution of deviant behaviors across groups defined by class, race, and ethnicity (Siegel, 2008). Societies that emphasize success goals for everyone in the culture are more likely to experience anomic suicide. People who scale back their success goals are criticized as quitters. There is some sort of ambivalence in norms with regard to what is perceived as appropriate means of being successful. Hard work and ambition in school and market place is considered are the culturally accepted means of success (Siegel, 2008). However, a robber baron and a rogue who breaks the rules about appropriate means but achieves success goals by deviant means are also admired. Success in certain societies is rated highly than virtue. In this regard I think that Merton's Anomie Theory appropriately describes Gotti's involvement in organized criminal activities. Gotti had earlier on been involved in gang activities in the community he grew up in. near the first half of the 20th century different Italian communities lived in same neighborhoods where the Mafia's activities were vicious (Siegel, 2008). The residents of these neighborhoods were poor relative to the criminal elements. Gotti happened to have grown in this neighborhood where means-end theory ruled. Successor plainly put, wealth, was all that matter. Opportunities for social advancement in this community were not the same as other communities'. Things were not easy either for an average white Anglo Saxon. The social networking with others involved respect in the community for the Mafia members for the reason…

Sources Used in Documents:

References List

Abadinsky, H. (2004). Organized Crime. Belmont, California: Thomson Wadsworth.

SAGE (n.d.). Major Sociological Theoretical Approaches in Criminology. Retrieved from

Siegel, L.J. (2008). Criminology: The Core. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

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