Blog #3- Merton “Retreatism, Ritualism, Innovation”


Sociologist Robert Merton’s theory on the “Social Structure and Anomie ” I believe is extremely accurate and very reoccurring and real issue in today’s society. In America everything is about “making it” or at least “faking it till you make it” or just plain “gettin it” the illegal way. We have vast groups of conformists which are people that although are under the pressures of society stick to ordinary legal ways of making money like getting an education and getting a regular nine to five in corporate America to pay the bills and survive but then we also have people who under the pressure turn to divant ways of making money and being what America calls “successful”. Merton talks about the different modes of adaptation to anomie which are retreatism, ritualism and, innovation. These are the three that I mostly see in our society. We have the people who just can’t deal with the stresses and pressures placed on them so they retreat emotionally, mentally, and socially and turn to deviant behavior such as being drug addicts, drunkards etc. We can see a lot of this everywhere we go especially in NY. Then the second is ritualistic groups which are just people that go through the motions without any aspirations of doing something better or different they just conform and live life like overconformist. I think the ritualistic group is the largest out of the three that I see in NY there are millions of people just living life vicariously through other people’s lives on Instagram which is pretty sad but true. Lastly we have innovators that resort to illegal delinquent criminal activity to obtain economic success. In today’s society this is also seen a lot especially in areas with goups that live below poverty level, mostly groups that are minorities and don’t have access to an education and have probably been felons but the way the social structure is set up is that even if these people wanted to change there lives around they can’t because of there past records so they’re kind of confined and forced into illegal methods to survive.


4 responses to “Blog #3- Merton “Retreatism, Ritualism, Innovation”

  1. This is definitely true about our society, Merton states that we all aim for success (in monetary terms) and do not often measure the consequences that may lead to obtaining success. I also agree with you the fact that often felons would like to change the way they behave but the stigmas that society places on felons, would not allow them to move forward and take the “right” path toward success. Perhaps it is true as you say that everyone would like to be successful and they are willing to “make it”, “fake it till you make it”, or just plain “getting it” the illegal way.

  2. Merton’s Theory to “Retreatism”. Ritualism, Innovation”
    I agree with you on People do fake it to try to make it. Because some people but up a fa sad by buying expensive handbags,expensive shoes,driving cars they can’t even afford and where they live at maybe in the public housing system , but this is all apart of society making you feel that you got to impress the next person by any means necessary when you know you may not even have food to feed your children. Yes there are the retreaters that can’t deal with life’s pressure’s and end up in a psychiatric ward because of the pressures of the world. Maybe at one time was working on a job as a very well respected individual and was fired and never was able to maintain another job. Yes innovators, are they wrong for only the strong survive and what better way then to find their niche’s in life I feel that their are some innovators that truly wind up entrepreneurs and from my point of view as long as its not illegal then they have a right to live and swim in the ocean as well without asking a soul for a dime. We have the people of ritualism that to me they get a nine to five but they are like the living dead, they complain all the the time but can’t think of trying to change their existence from the ritualistic existence of unhappiness, These are the conformist of society which is sad because they are existing but not living these are the people that some times end up postal because they have conformed to societies rules and finds out that it doesn’t work for them they go to college can’t get a job and wind up shooting up a movie theatre or innocent kids in a school these are our conformist. So why not try to be an innovator and conformist and see which works for you but not the illegal kind of course. But these are the fruits of society and these in our world today either we make it or fake it.

  3. This is very on point, though I think you can relate it universally, not only to New York. If we look with in the people around us you can pinpoint each individual and where they stand. The pressure this society puts on us edge and drives us to deal with these pressures in different ways. I definitely agree on the last part of your post. The social structure we live in plays a huge part in where we will fall. Of course we can fight against it, but sometimes the obstacles are not beatable and we will fail no matter how hard we try.

  4. i agree that we now have many more innovators which are the ones go through the illegal way to gain there money. I think society now have less education and try to go the easy way to get what they want, we have few retreatism who try really hard to get where they want i think because the social media/ network have great deal to do with this. And a major is young people have babies especially in the low income societies.

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