Assess that usefulness of functionalist approaches in explaining crime

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  • Assess the usefulness of functionalist approaches in explaining crime (30 marks)
    • Introduction
      • Functionalism: Structural consensus theory. Organic analogy. Positive view of crime
    • Durkheim
      • Boundary Maintenance: Crime & punishment unites society in condemnation of the wrongdoer & reinforces value consensus
      • Adaptation & Change: All change begins with an act of deviance e.g. the Civil Rights Movement (sit-ins broke the segregation laws)
      • Evaluation
        • Too deterministic. Does not always work (E.g. Hondouras; N. Korea)
        • Does not take into account victims' perspectives
        • Does not explain why certain groups are more prone to crime than others
    • Merton
      • Strain theory: Society has certain goals (wealth) and accepted means of achieving them. More emphasis on goals than means
        • Not everyone can achieve these shared goals by legitimate means (strain)
          • 5 reactions: confromity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism & rebellion
      • Evaluation
        • Ignores collective deviance
        • Ignores non-utilitarian crime
    • Subcultural theory
      • AK Cohen
        • Status frustration: w/c realise they cannot achieve m/c ideals, so they reject them and turn to an alternative opportunity structure
          • Criminal, Conflict & Retreatist subcultures
        • Evaluation
          • Assumes w/c begin by having m/c values
          • Ignores women

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