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Paper Topic:

Youth Violence and the Anomie Theory

Youth Violence the Anomie Theory

Criminal behavior has long baffled psychologists and society in general While extensive studies have been made in an attempt to explain criminal acts , thus far has been found to satisfactorily explain all the complex processes and the interplay of factors that pushes an individual over the edge to finally commit to the act of doing something illegal or harmful to someone else . Criminal behavior is complex enough , but crime as perpetrated by the youth is even more complicated and disturbing . As such , the need to come up

with theories and models for juvenile crime is very important

Among these theories , the most widely-accepted is the one forwarded by constitutive criminology . It is a perspective that analyzes crime as a product of the complex interplay between man and the social structures that he interacts with (Sanders Ferrell , 1995 , 146 ) This constitutive theory rejects the argument of traditional modernist criminology that crime and offenders can be separated entirely from the social processes that the criminal functions in and interacts with . This theory believes that crime is the end product of the complex interactions that take place among the individual with social structures and society 's control institutions (Sanders Ferrell , 1995 , 146 According to this theory , crime therefore cannot be analyzed and corrected in isolation from society . As such , the society where the person is a part of as well and the crime committed cannot be divorced from each other

A foundation of constitutive criminology perspective is Bandura 's social learning theory which underscores the role of society in the shaping of an individual 's character and reinforcing certain types of behavior This means that any one person 's behavior is affected or influenced by the behavior of others . The need to be accepted and conform to society is a cornerstone of social learning theory . Social learning theory has found great relevance in the understanding of offensive behaviors (Bandura , 1977 ) and psychological diss . Of course because social learning theory is applied in juvenile deviant behavior , it also stands to reason that it can be used for reforming offenders

Bandura 's social learning theory has been further refined by Merton 's Anomie theory . This theory goes on to explain how the individual and society interact to provoke criminal behavior within the person involved . The deprivations that an individual experiences in a certain area create a social trend that encourages criminal activities (Hopkins and Burke , 2005 , 99 ) The gap that exists between material goals and the means to acquire it creates pressure or strain which eventually leads to criminal behavior . Merton 's social structure and anomie theory explains why there are differences in criminal activities across various social groups . Merton maintains that the opportunities in society are not equally accessible to all and it further argues that social structures or stratification is the main reason why people commit criminal acts Pressures within society may drive certain people against the wall and provoke them to commit a crime

Hopkins and...

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