“A cardinal American virtue, ambition, promotes a cardinal American vice, deviant behavior.” (Robert K. Merton) In “Social Structure and Anomie”(1938) Merton explains that often in pursuit of ambition one may be pushed into deviant behaviors. This reason is because according to Merton deviant behavior is due to social structure. Society creates the prescribed goals and socially structured means to achieved them. Merton explains five different modes of adaptions to an anomie society. Conformity is to conform to goals and means, which avoid becoming deviant. Retreatism is to reject goals and means, which the individual drops out from socially achieving those goals. Ritualism to conform without ambition of achieving culturally prescribed goals. Innovation to want to obtain culturally prescribed goals but by illegitimate ways. Rebellion refers to the deviants who attempt to change the existing structure of society.
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