Although, I missed class the day we spoke about Merton, I read through the reading and the slides and I found Merton’s concept of deviance and anomie very interesting. A lot of people study why people commit crime and wonder why people especially the young do what they do but Merton believes that its our social structures that forces us into these difficult places such as the government, our religion, the government. These things make up a major part of our lives so its obvious that the tension/ pressure we feel from there is a result of what happens later. Also, I think one of the most commoon preconception we have is that crime is commited mostly by the poor because they are jealous of others and want better for themselves but do not have the means to get them the hard way. But what Merton tries to explain is that a rich person is just as susceptible to crime and anomie because it is culture based and depends on our individual moral and values. For example, if there is a person who isn’t that financially stable but works long hard hours, only to make ends meet, it doesn’t mean he is going to go rob a bank because he wants to provide for his family and he has “good morals” which Merton described as a conformist or a ritualist. On the other hand, there could be a rich guy that has a huge mansion and owner of a big company that robs a bank instead because he wants more and he will do anything to get more even if it means hurting people which can be described as innovation. The other group he spoke of was the people that retreat and withdraw completely from society because the pressure is too much for them, such as outcasts and loners. The final and most talked aobut group of course is the rebbellers. This is the group that Merton sees as the “rising class” in which they want to change all the society’s norms for the greater cause and make something revolutionary happen which made me think of the protests that are happening all across the worl for allldiffernet purposes whether it be for the rights of women or freedom for a specifc race/religion and the measures that they are taking which might seem crazy and deviant and bad to some but just acts of justice to others. Finally, Merton makes the point that deviance and anomie is not cause by just one thing but a number of things which is Merton describes as the need to do well financially mixed in with the constraints and limits to opprtunites that force us onto this not so good place. In my opinion, Merton makes many good points but I think one thing that’s important to remember is that people have different values/ goals and they change according to things like where you live. For example going back to Durkheim a little, it matters where you live for example we talked about how in big cities people are more likely to be deviant or “rebellers” as opposed to in a small town where most people are conformists or ritulaists. But as Merton says, there are a lot of factors to take into account when discussing deviance and anomie.
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