The author gives a detailed account of the main theories of sociology whereby he discusses the ideas of some of the known scholars in the field, such as Emile Durkheim, as well as others who came later with either divergent or supportive views. In the chapter, the author explains the occurrence of crime using the main theories of sociology, even though he also offers a critique of the methods.
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He manages to explain how antisocial criminal behaviors are transmitted from one person to the other and from one generation to another using the theories. The ideas of Merton that crime traces its roots in the American Dream, which teaches people to work extremely hard to fulfill their potentials in society, are valid even though he underscores the fact that other causes of crime exist in the community.
It is unfortunate that, while the American dream encourages people to be industrious in whatever they do, a majority in society does not have the means to achieve these treasured values, something that increases the cases of delinquency where individuals would want to engage in crimes, such as money laundry, terrorism, cybercrime, and drug trafficking to been as industrious.
The idea that criminal behavior is something that can perhaps be learned through the socialization process is fantastic since it implies that the environment has a role to play in shaping the human behavior in any given society. In the entire chapter, understanding anomie is fascinating because the two major theorists, including Durkheim and Merton, talk about it in detail.
For Durkheim, suicide is mainly caused by the failure of the social institutions, such as the family, the polity, and the school while Merton links anomie to personality adaptations. Durkheim further observes that anomie is a state of formlessness, meaning that an individual decides to commit suicide when he or she lacks sufficient guidelines and values that would help in coping with the difficulties in life.
For Merton, anomie simply occurs when a person fails to meet societal needs through the socially accepted means, something that forces people to develop new mechanisms to adopt well in society, including confirming to the new rules, engaging in constant innovation, retreating to the established values, such as those of the family, and finally resorting to ritualism.
In the chapter, the author discusses the social process tradition, which concentrates mainly on the learning process, socialization, and transmission of subculture behaviors that might be criminal, making the chapter attractive. Through the concept, the relationship between people and their social milieus is understood better. It is evident through the social process tradition theory that the residence in which a person is brought up influences his or her criminal behavior.
In this regard, individuals raised in slums are likely to engage in crime in the future while those brought up in better environments are likely to follow the law when they grow up. Based on this, Cohen conducted a study, which revealed that children brought up in single families are expected to engage in crime as compared to those raised by both parents. Similarly, the media has the role to play in predisposing the youths to crime because people try to live as per the media adverts that insist on consumerism.