Durkheim's functionalist theory

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  • Durkheim's functionalist theory
    • The inevitability of crime
      • 'crime is normal...an integral part of all healthy societies'
      • not everyone is equally well socialised into shared norms
      • in complex modern societies, groups develop own subcultures with distinctive values.
      • what members of subculture regard as normal, mainstream society may see as deviant
      • modern societies have complex division of labour so individuals become increasingly different from one another, weakening the collective conscience
    • positive functions of crime
      • boundary maintenance
        • crime produces reaction, uniting societies members in condemnation of the wrongdoer
        • courtroom rituals publicly shame wrongdoer discouraging others from rule breaking
      • adaptation and change
        • all change starts with act of devaince
        • individuals with new ideas must not be stifled by weight of social control, there must be scope to challenge existing norms.
        • in long run, individuals with new values may give rise to new culture or morality
    • other functions of crime
      • prostitution acts as safety valve for release of men's sexual frustrations without threatening monogamous nuclear family
      • crime can be warning institution isn't functioning properly e.g. truancy may mean problems in education system
      • *********** safely channels variety of sexual desires away from alternatives such as adultery which poses greater threat to nuclear family


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