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Criminal Justice: Anomie & Strain Theory

Key Theorists and Researchers

Durkheim felt that societies could become susceptible to crime and other social problems due to rapid population growth and urbanization. Societies would not have time to enact appropriate laws and regulations to govern social interactions.  This condition of inadequate social control was what Durkehiem called anomie

Merton stated that anomie produces strain in people.  He developed a typology of individual responses to the strain.  These responses are: conformity, innovation, ritualism, reatreatism, and rebellion.  

Other individuals associated with this theory:

Emile Durkheim

Robert K. Merton

Robert Agnew

Steven Messner

Richard Rosenfeld

Albert H. Cohen

Richard Cloward

Derek Ohlin



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