Title page for ETD etd-11102009-020037

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Alexander, Deanna W.
URN etd-11102009-020037
Title Political crime :an application of Merton's theory of social sturcture and anomie
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bailey, Carol A. Committee Chair
Fuhrman, Ellsworth R. Committee Member
Miethe, Terance D. Committee Member
  • Social structure.
Date of Defense 1992-05-11
Availability restricted

Political crime receives little attention by criminologists relative to other forms of crime. What attention that has been given is hindered by lack of theoretical explanations to guide the research efforts, such as atheoretical descriptive accounts or typologies of political criminality. In this thesis, I apply Merton's theory of social structure and anomie to two CIA case studies: MKUltra (1950-1973) mind control/behavior modification experiments, and MHChaos (late 1950s-1974) a domestic counterintelligence program.

Anomie theory focuses on the disjuncture between cultural goals and institutional means to achieve end results. I argue that political crimes result when governmental agencies cannot reach their goals using legitimate means. Thus, they find illegitimate means, i.e. unlawful behavior, to obtain their goals. Specifically, the analysis of this thesis examines: (1) how the CIA defined their goals; (2) how the CIA justified the use of their innovative means to achieve the ends; (3) how the structural charter of the CIA facilitated the use of illegitimate means; and (4) how the CIA was able to temporarily dissolve the societal disjuncture of anomie.

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