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Sociology Definition of the Week: Innovator

By October 26, 2011

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In Robert Merton's description of the structural strain theory, he defines five general categories of people based on their relationship to the culturally accepted goals and the means to achieving those goals. Innovators are one category of people who accept the cultural goals of society but reject the conventional methods of attaining those goals. These people usually have a blatant disregard for the conventional methods that have been established in attaining wealth and are generally those we regard as criminals. An example is a stockbroker who engages in illegal insider trading. The cultural goal of wealth is accepted, but nontraditional means of insider trading are used. Drug dealers, thieves, and prostitutes are also examples of innovators. Read more about the structural strain theory and the different categories of people.


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