Social Structure Theory is a criminological theory that seeks to explain the relationship between social structures and crime. It posits that crime is primarily a result of the social and economic conditions in which individuals live. This theory attempts to identify the underlying causes of criminal behavior, rather than focusing on individual characteristics or psychological factors.

The Social Structure Theory of criminology was first introduced by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in the 1930s. Sutherland argued that criminal behavior was learned through social interaction, particularly within close-knit groups such as families and peer groups. He believed that people were more likely to engage in criminal behavior if they were exposed to attitudes and values that condoned such behavior.

Sutherland’s Social Structure Theory was later expanded upon by other criminologists, including Robert Merton, Richard Cloward, and Lloyd Ohlin. Merton developed the concept of strain theory, which argues that people are more likely to engage in criminal behavior when they are unable to achieve their goals through legitimate means. Cloward and Ohlin developed the concept of subculture theory, which suggests that some groups develop their own norms and values that differ from those of mainstream society, leading to higher rates of criminal behavior.

In recent years, Social Structure Theory has been further developed by scholars such as William Julius Wilson and Elijah Anderson. Wilson’s work focused on the relationship between poverty and crime, arguing that poverty creates an environment in which criminal behavior is more prevalent due to lack of access to resources and opportunities. Anderson’s work focused on inner-city neighborhoods and the impact of social disorganization on crime rates.

In conclusion, Social Structure Theory is an important criminological theory that seeks to explain the relationship between social structures and crime. It was first introduced by Edwin Sutherland in the 1930s and has since been expanded upon by other scholars. While there are different variations of this theory, all seek to identify the underlying causes of criminal behavior and address the social and economic conditions that contribute to it.