Social structure theory is a sociological perspective that seeks to explain crime and deviance in terms of the individual’s location within social structures. This theory posits that the social structures, such as poverty, inequality, and lack of opportunity, are the root causes of criminal behavior.

Examples of Social Structure Theory:

There are several examples of social structure theories that explain criminal behavior. Here are some of them:

1. Strain Theory:
Strain theory proposes that individuals who are unable to achieve their goals through legitimate means may turn to deviant or criminal behavior. This theory argues that society places too much emphasis on success and material wealth, which creates a strain on those who are unable to achieve these goals.

2. Social Disorganization Theory:

Social disorganization theory suggests that crime is more prevalent in neighborhoods with weak social institutions and high levels of poverty. This theory argues that the lack of social control in these neighborhoods leads to a breakdown in traditional values and norms, which can result in higher rates of crime.

3. Cultural Deviance Theory:

Cultural deviance theory proposes that certain subcultures within society have unique values and norms that promote criminal behavior. This theory suggests that individuals who grow up in these subcultures internalize these values and norms, which can lead to criminal behavior.


In conclusion, social structure theory provides a unique perspective on the causes of criminal behavior. By focusing on the role of social structures in shaping individual behavior, this theory offers insights into how we can address crime and deviance in our society. By understanding the root causes of criminal behavior, we can work to create more just and equitable social structures that promote positive outcomes for all individuals.