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The Great Depression of the 1930s was important to Merton’s understanding of the relationship between social strain and deviant behavior.
- APA in-text citations and references are required for any external and textbook material provided. Excessive quotations (more quotes than your own words) will not award points.
- Each weekly discussion is worth two points.
Discussion Questions: (Remember: You may use ONE of these or any concept that you find in the chapter. You may start a new topic or respond to the existing one.)
- The Great Depression of the 1930s was important to Merton’s understanding of the relationship between social strain and deviant behavior. How is the recent “Great Recession” similar to what Merton discusses?
- Merton’s focus on a society that overemphasizes financial success and restricts the means for reaching that success is the foundation of his theory. Assuming that some analysts are correct that the deregulation of the financial industry from 1980-2007 created a situation where usual norms did not apply. Using this discuss the relevance of Durkheim’s version of anomie.
- Look up violent crime statistics in the most recent Uniform Crime Reports for Miami, Florida. Discuss whether current statistics seem to support a “southernness hypothesis” or subculture of violence.
- Reflect upon the types of things your parents did to try to help you prepare for starting elementary school (this could even involve table manners for the cafeteria, or sitting quietly while adults talk). In what ways were you given help in getting through the first few grades? Do you believe a parent’s help made any difference? What about homes where parents do not assist? How much of parental emphasis on doing well in school do you think is class-based?
- Are there any types of everyday behaviors that you can think of that might be useful or functional in the lower classes, but would not serve that same purpose for those of higher socio-economic standing? What about interactions with peers, teachers, and other authorities?
- Were Cloward and Ohlin correct about the presence of an illegal opportunity structure and its greater availability to the lower classes? Given today’s criminological treatment of white-collar crime, is there different access to white-collar crime opportunities by class?