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NS FL2 P/S #46

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:56 am
by NS_Tutor_Will
A student recently asked, "I picked Option B because I've read that another name for anomie theory IS strain theory. I thought that strain theory was due to the effects of anomie, and so I wasn't considering the Next Step definition of strain theory (negative events --> negative emotions). Is there a difference between the "strain theory" that I've read about and "GENERAL strain theory," or did I just confuse the definition?"

The basic definitions of the two terms in question go a long way in helping narrow down our options in this question. Anomie is more specific and is often understood as "normlessness," or a condition of society in which individuals have weaker ties and little guidance (in terms of moral behavior). In this case, the "weakened cultural values" that aren't being "transmitted throughout the community" is a dead ringer for anomie. Strain theory, on the other hand, is broader and refers to the ways that society (via social structures) might promote deviance. In other words, negative events within society lead to negative emotions for those experiencing them, which may, in turn, cause negative behaviors (deviance/crime). You could think of anomie as being a contributor to the situation as described by strain theory, but it is more specific to a loss of norms/morals/cultural values, which is a good fit for this particular question.

Hope this helps!