Anomie or Strain Perspective - Law Case Study

Published: 2021-07-30
628 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Middlebury College
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Anomie and strain are two perspectives from which one can view the reason why people take part in crime. They are both theoretical notions that can be used to explain some of the signs that one is likely to take part in a criminal activity and the outcomes are also predictable. Anomie refers to the situation where there is no normal of behavior in the society. It is a situation of normlessness where there are no laws that guide the way people should behave. In this case, the expectation of behaving in a given manner is not clear that makes one engage in a deviant behavior because there is no reason for not doing so (Bemburg, 2002). On the other hand, the strain theory avails that there is a way in which one finds him or herself under pressure from the society as a way of being forced to achieve the set goals. The pressure is imposed at a time when one is not able to achievethem, and hence the feeling of strain takes charge. The individual opts to engage in criminal activities to make ends meet.

Chelsea grew up in a family of two brothers, and each of them was drug addicts. They were convicted in a court of law repeatedly for taking part in illegal trafficking of drugs, but they still found a way of escaping. Chelsea's parents, on the other hand, kept on quarreling and fighting each other over domestic matters. The father and mother are all unemployed, and they depend on help from well-wishers and aids from the government. Chelsea was not able to look for a job because of the age limitations and the fact that she had to act as the families caregiver. The society that they lived in did not care about the fact young adults are engaging in homicide and murder cases because it had been the order of the day.

The situation reached a point where Chelsea became sick, and the family was not able to provide for her hospital bills. The brothers were also not around to support her psychologically. Chelsea was suffering from traumatic disorders that she kept on witnessing the parents who fought each other daily. When she finally recovered from the illness, Chelsea opted to take part in conning and robbing people their money because she desperately needed it. She also engaged in the trafficking of marijuana because she thought that was the only way to get money and the community leaders did not have a problem with it too.

The story is a clear indication of a case where anomie and strain are all working at the same time. Anomie was applicable in the case because the parents did not mind about behaving abnormally at the presence of the children. Chelsea, therefore, developed a feeling that everything was normal and that was the reason why she opted to take part in crime to sustain herself. Chelsea knew that she would crossroads with the law if she took part in the robbery but the financial pressure that she faced from the familial situation made her choose it as an alternative.

Therefore, the situations that surround an individual are likely to lead him or her into crime. Chelsea had to take part in crime because her brothers were also doing the same. The pressure and strain that one goes through are likely to be the causative agents of being a part of the gangs that harass people in the society (Bemburg, 2002). The main aim is to reduce the pressure and live like normal individuals. For a crime to end, the society needs to be a complete balance such that everyone feels comfortable from every perspective.


Bemburg, J. (2002). Anomie, social change and crime. British Journal of Criminology, 42(4), 729-742

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