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The Strain Perspective

The Strain Perspective

In Chapter 4, we studied the strain perspective and noticed that the concept of the American Dream was a central component to this perspective's argument. Policy implications for this perspective focused on changing the structure of society or de-emphasizing the importance of achieving monetary success (American Dream).

Your group should meet to discuss/answer the following:

- Report on a policy that would be supported by one of the strain theorists (Merton, Agnew, or Messner & Rosenfeld). The policy can by real or hypothetical, but should be practical (i.e.: changing form of government is not practical).

Once you have discussed these, please write up a collaborative report on your group wiki which details your conversation. Be sure to include shared opinions, opposing viewpoints, facts presented, etc. The report should be about 5 -6 paragraphs in length; this is an academic assignment, so avoid colloquialisms, slang, poor grammar/sentence structure, etc. Write it like you would a report submitted to your superior at work (Sergeant, Judge, Caseworker, Company President, etc).

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Robert Agnew's Strain Theory

The main issue here is that Agnew thought the original strain theory too simple. The original concept was that expectations decrease as aspirations rise. Crime, therefore, occurs when the person is highly ambitious for some social good, but despairs of ever achieving it by normal, institutional means.

Agnew did not think that the empirical evidence bore this out. What was borne out was the existence of other variables that modify the original two (expectations and ambition). He redefines strain to include things like social standing and social respect. Insecurity pushes certain people to prove themselves. Seeing autonomy is also another motivation, since the workaday world can be oppressive and bureaucratic. In addition, trauma, such as the death of a parent or the loss of a ...

Solution Summary

The following posting helps with a problem the discusses the strain perspective and the concept of the American Dream.

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