Jul 21 2020

Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior Author(s): Richard A. Cloward Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., ), pp. The research paper Illegitimate Means, Anomie, and Deviant Behavior written by Richard A. Cloward can be found in American Sociological. Illegitimate Means, Anomie and Deviant Behavior. Front Cover. Richard A. Cloward. Bobbs-Merrill, – Anomy – 13 pages.

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Publisher contact information may be obtained at http: Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain ddeviant same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of behavoor in a trusted digital archive.

We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. The orderin which the elements of a theory is developed is irrelevant to the content of the theoretical model. We conclude that Merton’s typology can “As the typology of responses to anomie is intended to make clear, there are distinct kinds of behavior which, in contrast to their manifest appearance of conformity to institutionalized expectations, can be shown upon further sociological analysis to represent illegitmate from these expectations.

Our extension of the typology, like the original, is grounded illegitimqte implicit social psychological rather than sociological “laws of interaction. Theoretical models of deviant behavior which explain why and how such behavior occurs remain to be constructed. Perhaps these typologies, as componentparts, will be useful in that effort.

In this paper a third phase is outlined. As currently stated, the theory focusses on pressures toward deviant behavior arising from discrepancies between cultural goals and approved modes of access to them. It focusses, maens short, upon variations in the availability of legitimate means.

One may also inquire, however, about variations in access to success-goals by illegitimate means.

The latter emphasis may be detected in the work of Shaw, McKay, Sutherland, and others in the “cultural transmission” and “differential association” tradition. By taking into account differentials in access to success-goals both by legitimate and by illegitimate means, the theory of anomie may be extended to include seemingly unrelated theories of deviant behavior now contained in the traditional literature of criminology.

HIS paper I represents an attempt to consolidate two major sociological traditions of thought about the problem of deviant behavior. The first, exemplifiedby the work of Emile Durkheim and Robert K. Merton, may be called the anomie tradition. McKay, and Edwin H. Sutherland, may be called the “cultural transmission” and “differential association” tradition. For a more detailed statement see Richard A.

Cloward, Social Control and Anomie: Spaulding and George Simpson, Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, ; and Robert K. Free Press,Chapters 4 and 5. Shaw, The Jack-Roller, Chicago: Shaw, The Natural some reciprocal borrowing of ideas, these intellectual traditions developed more or less independently. By seeking to consolidate them, a more adequate theory of deviant behavior may be constructed. Durkheim first used the concept to explain deviant History of a Delinquent Career, Chicago: Shaw and Henry D.

Sutherland, editor, The Professional Thief, Chicago: Sutherland, Principles of Criminology, 4th edition, Philadelphia: Lippincott, ; Edwin H. He focussed on the way in which various social conditions lead to “overweening ambition,” and how, in turn, unlimited aspirations ultimately produce a breakdown in regulatory norms. Merton has systematized and extended the theory, directing attention to patterns of disjunction between culturally prescribed goals and socially organized access to them by legitimate means.


In this paper, a third phase is outlined. An additional variable is incorporated in the developing scheme of anomie, namely, the concept of differentials in access to success-goals by illegitimate means. Unlimited Aspirations and the Breakdown of Regulatory Norms. In Durkheim’s work, a basic distinction is made between “physical needs” and “moral needs.

Nothing in the organic structure, however, is capable of regulating social desires; as Durkheim put it, man’s “capacity for feeling is in itself an insatiable and bottomless abyss.

But since the individual has no way of limiting them, this must be done by some force exterior to him. If the collective order is disrupted or disturbed,however, men’s aspirations may then rise, exceeding all possibilities of fulfillment.

Under these conditions, “de-regulation or anomy” ensues: The concept therefore includes “illegal means” as a special case but is not coterminous with illegal behavior, which refers only to the violation of legal norms. In several parts of this paper, I refer to particular forms of deviant behavior which entail violation of the law and there use the more restricted term, “illegal means. The state of de-regulation or anomy is thus further heightened by passions being less disciplined precisely when they need more disciplining.

Durkheim therefore turned to the question of when the regulatory functions of the collective order break down.

Strain theory (sociology) – Wikipedia

Several such states were identified, including sudden depression, sudden prosperity, and rapid technological change. His object was to show deviznt, under these conditions, men are led to aspire to goals extremely difficult if not behavilr to attain. As Durkheim saw it, sudden depression results feviant deviant behavior because “something like a declassification occurs which suddenly casts certain individuals into a lower state than their previous one.

Then they must reduce their requirements, restrain their needs, learn greater self-control. But society cannot adjust them instantaneously to illsgitimate new life and teach them to practice the increased self-repression to which they are unaccustomed. So they are not adjusted to the condition forced on them, and its very prospect is intolerable; hence the suffering which detaches them from a reduced existence even before they have made trial of it.

The very abruptness of these changes presumably heightens aspirations beyond possibility of fulfillment, and this too puts a strain on the regulatory apparatus of the society. According to Durkheim, “the sphere of trade and beuavior. As Durkheim said of the producer of goods, “now that he may assume to have almost the entire world as his customer, how could passions accept their former confinement in the face of such limitless prospects”?

Here the state of crisis and anomie [are] constant and, so illsgitimate speak, normal. From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where to find ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain.

He spoke of “dispositions. The longing for infinity is daily represented as a mark of moral distinction Durkheim’s description of the emergence of ”overweeningambition” and the subsequent breakdown of regulatory norms constitutes one of the links between his work and the kllegitimate development of the theory by Robert K.

In his classic essay, “Social Structure and Anomie,” Merton suggests that goals and normsmay vary independently of each other, and that this sometimes leads to malintegrated states. In his view, two polar types of disjunction may occur: This constitutes one type of malintegrated culture. Sheer conformity becomes a central value. The essence of this hypothesis is captured in the following excerpt: Here one may point to diverse structural differentialsin access to culturally approved goals by legitimate means, for example, differentials of age, sex, ethnic status, and social class.

Pressures for anomie or normlessnessvary from one social devlant to another, depending on the nature of these differentials. In summary,Merton extends the theory of anomie in two meane ways. He explicitly identifies types of anomic or malintegrated societies by focussing upon the relationship between cultural goals and norms. The Concept of Illegitimate ritualistic and innovating behavior in the Means.


Once processes generating differen- middle and lower classes result from diftials in pressures are identified, there is then ferential emphases in socialization. The the question of how these pressures are “rule-oriented”accent in middle-class socialresolved, or how men respond to them.

In ization presumably disposes persons to this connection, Merton enumeratesfive basic handle stress by engaging in ritualistic rather categories of behavior or role adaptations than innovating behavior. The lower-class which are likely to animie Fur- persons variously distributed throughout the thermore, Merton sees the distribution of social system. For example, serve to order the choices of deviant as well the notion that innovating behavior may reas conforming adaptations which develop sult from unfulfilled aspirations and imperunder conditions of stress.

Comparative fect socialization with respect to conventional studies of ethnic groups, for example, have norms implies that illegitimate means are shown that some tend to engage in distinc- freely available-as if the individual, having tive forms of deviance; thus Jews exhibit decided that meanz can’t make it legitilow rates of alcoholism and alcoholic psy- mately,” then simply turns to illegitimate choses.

However, expressingaggression,and other alleged com- these means may not be available. As noted ponents of the “Jewish” value system con- above, the anomie theory assumes that constrain modes of deviance which involve “loss ventional means are differentiallydistributed, of control” over behavior. Note, for example, variacultural emphasis on masculinity encourages tions in the degree to which membersof various classes are fully exposed to and thus ac7See, e.

Strain theory (sociology)

Bacon, “Social Settings quire the values, education, and skills which Conducive to Alcoholism-A Sociological Approach facilitate anommie mobility. It should not be to a Medical Problem,” Journal of the American startling, therefore, to find similar variations Medical Association, 16 May,pp. Bales, illegitimaye Differences in Rates of in the availability of illegitimate means.

Skolnick, “A Study of the Relation of Ethnic this variable in a theory of deviant behavior. Background to Arrests for Inebriety,” Quarterly Sutherland, for example, writes that “an Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 15 December,inclination to steal is not a sufficientexplanapp.

Thorner, “Ascetic Protestantism tion of the genesis of the professional and Alcoholism,” Psychiatry, 16 May,pp. He role; and second, that the individual has must be appraised as having an adequate opportunities to discharge the role once he equipment of wits, front, talking-ability, has been prepared. The term subsumes, honesty, reliability, nerve and determina- therefore, both learning structures and option.

A Because these environments afford integraperson cannot acquirerecognitionas a profes- tion of offenders of different ages, the young sional thief until he has had tutelage in are exposed to “differential associations” professional theft, and tutelage is anomiie only which facilitate the acquisition of criminal to a few persons selected from the total popu- values and skills.

Yet preparation for the lation. For one thing, more young”a very small percentage of those who start sters may be recruited into these patterns of on this process ever reach the stage of profes- differential association than can possibly be sional theft. There may be a duction, and assumption of full status in the surplus of contendersfor these elite positions, criminal group-is that motivations or pres- leading in turn to the necessity for criteria sures toward deviance do not fully account and mechanismsof selection.

Hence a certain for deviant behavior.