Alexa Ferreira- Strain Theory
Alexa discusses Robert Merton’s Strain Theory and how people in society feel compelled to participate in the notion of the “American Dream,” and upon failing to live up to these societal ideals, are in essence deemed unsuccessful. She makes a connection between drug use and Strain Theory, explaining that these perceived failing members of society often use drugs to help them cope, falling under the Retreatism category of Merton’s Adaptations to Strain. By withdrawing from society and using drugs to help alleviate the apparent pain, they are rejecting traditional goals and means essentially by not trying to achieve the objectives, nor accept the means of obtaining them.
Casey Thomas- Robert Merton’s Strain Theory and Its Use Today
Casey describes Robert Merton’s Strain Theory and its modern day applications. She makes a parallel to the contemporary television show “Breaking Bad,” by illuminating that the characters in the show are innovative using illegitimate means (drug dealing) to achieve conventional goals (obtaining money in order to be considered successful). She elaborates on how important Strain Theory has become for criminologists that followed such as Robert Agnew, Albert Cohen, as well as partners Richard Cloward & Lloyd Ohlin.
Michael Nelson- School Shootings: A Modern Application to Cohen’s College Boy
Michael discusses Cohen’s take on Strain Theory and measuring up to the “middle class measuring rod.” Michael makes the connection of Cohen’s “college boy” to the generation of school shootings, he goes on to explain that the frustration of failing to measure up to the expectations of the middle class, can lead to frustration and anger which is sometimes displaced outwardly toward unsuspecting victims.
Robert Jordan- From Strain Theory to General Strain Theory
Robert paraphrases the evolution of Strain Theory from its beginnings with Durkheim’s “normlessness” progressing with Merton’s Strain Theory and finally with its most modern form in Agnew’s General Strain Theory. Robert provides us with current implications that positively resulted from this forward moving idea, in things such as intervention programs and family support groups that are designed to increase coping mechanisms to manage strain.
Ryan Miller- Why Do We Commit Crime?
Ryan provides background on General Strain Theory and its roots; he further explains Robert Agnew’s stance of applying the theory of strain to more than just the lower class, in that generally criminal behavior is typically a response to strain. Ryan provides us with Agnew’s suggested solutions of intervention programming and the cultivating the development of healthy coping mechanisms.
Sui Tang- Lombroso’s Theory of Stigmata
Sui tells about Ceasare Lombroso, the father of criminology and the positive school. Sui informs us on Lombroso’s Stigmata, the idea that physical attributes could be a sign of criminal manifestation in individuals. Lombroso drew his work from studying inmates in an Italian prison and rejected Rational Choice by claiming people were born criminals. Although his theories are now outdated, Lombroso replaced the ideas of the Classical School with a new flame, igniting beliefs that biological, social, and psychological indicators may be the causation for criminal behavior.
Tess Arikian- Killing Crimes: A Look into Biosocial Theories
Tess examines the renovation of Lombroso’s biological theory of Stigmata into the refined explanation that societal and environmental factors may influence the criminal mind. She provides examples of policy implications such as nutrition programs, pre- and postnatal care and youth educational programming. Tess further elaborates that it is not nature vs. nurture but nature via nurture, providing the case in point that there is no template for a serial killer.