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opportunity structure

opportunity structure Building on Robert Merton's theory of delinquency, this term was developed by Richard A. Cloward and Lloyd B. Ohlin in Delinquency and Opportunity (1960), to further elucidate the pathways to success in American culture. When such pathways are blocked (for example through failed schooling), other opportunity structures may be found, and these could lead to diverse patterns of deviance. In this characterization, a combination of anomie theory and cultural transmission theory (see SUBCULTURE), there were three major delinquent opportunity structures: criminal, retreatist, and conflict. Their argument was influential in establishing new careers programmes in North America during the 1960s.

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