When Merton speaks about deviance, he mentions an intersect between culture, structure and anomie. In short, culture is all that is accepted to the group as norms, structure is how the people in such a group interact with one another and anomie is when deviance from the norm occurs. Anomie disregards the norms of structure and culture and forms a new set of rules that do not abide by what the normal structures operate.
What strikes me as particularly interesting about this topic is how Merton expanded on Durkheim’s term of anomie. Merton’s anomie is primarily caused by people who do not have the means of achieving what they wish to achieve legitimately. This leads to the debate of desire and deviance because if people desire something and cannot achieve it through the means within the bounded restrictions of culture and structure, they will seek illegitimate ways to satiate their desire.
Merton goes on to say that the American dream is a goal that many individuals seek in different ways. The process of the American dream in which one achieves financial freedom can be done one of two ways according to Merton. If one were to pursue it in a legitimate way, education then a stable middle class job may secure it for someone who has an advantaged start. Individuals who do not have these means may resort to illegal activities, which while stigmatized by the general population, is potentially profitable and reaches the end all in itself.
This brings the question up of how far an individual is wiling to go and which path they take. In the end is it really worth it?