In Merton’s theory/ anomie is no different in meaning from the word strain he proposed anomie to be a scenario in which societies unintentionally brings to tolerate strain, or pressure, on individuals which can as well lead to the behavior of breaking the rule. This strain or rather the pressure might be caused by the discrepancy in between the culturally defined goals and institutionalized means available in order to achieve these goals.
Merton’s Theory argues that dominant cultural goal in U.S is the acquisition of wealth as the message got portrayed that happiness can frequently be equated with the material success that often associated with the wealth. Socially accepted institutionalized ways of attaining these material goals strongly believed to be Education and hard work, this means that, extensively believed that those people who often apply themselves to work and study will most likely to succeed financially, contrary to those who failed to succeed got labeled as either seriously defective or lazy. According to Merton, the only problem with this society is that the only available legitimate means for realizing material success are not distributed uniformly.
Merton identifies five modes of adaptation, the first one, Innovator meaning non-deviant goals, e.g. fraudsters thieves. The next is Ritualist : this is deviant goals or rather non deviant methods, such as non-ambitious over-the conformists, The next, Retreats: this is deviant goals or rather deviant methods like Drug takers, alcoholics, drug takers who have abandoned social norms about attaining and about available means to realize the conventional goals. Finally, Rebel: this is deviant goals or rather a deviant means, rejecting both the conventional goals and the m means nonetheless replacing them with the alternative visions of how people should live currently: anti-consumerists or environmentalists
Improvements in this theory may involve making the theory deal with issues of Race and gender; the theory should explain the phenomena of white collar crimes, in addition to explaining youth crimes, which often, engaged in most social status other than the material acquisition.