Robert Merton had a particular view on the role of social deviance in society. Social deviance is the term that is used to describe behavior by individuals that deviates from society’s norms, behavior that isn’t typical. It is then categorized in a different way allowing such behavior to be analyzed. Merton therefore came up with a theory that explains why individuals take part in behaviors of social deviance. He believed that society sets out goals and expectations that an individual can achieve. This though must be done within the rules of the social order, a means that creates guidelines for social behavior and responsibility. The two are closely related to each other, and can vary.
This social order pressures individuals into certain behaviors. In order to achieve their means they must play along with the rules, something that Merton compares to in sports. Sports create rules that athletes must follow and in order to achieve their goals in their desired sport, they must follow them. This is the same with individuals in society, if one wants to become wealthy they must follow the law, and avoid things such as fraud, corruption, and bribery. It is easy to see how sometimes people can take part in deviant behavior since they are often influenced by the people they know, or the community they live in. Society creates guidelines for people to follow, but sometimes people cannot achieve their goals the right way, creating a sense of anomie.