Durkheim's theory on crime

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  • Durkheim's theory
    • Social solidarity creates a reaction from society which brings individuals together
      • The collective conscience is weakened and results in more crime and deviance
    • Crime is inevitable in all societies
      • Not everyone is socialised adequately and are likely to deviate
      • Too much crime can tear apart the bonds of society
      • Within modern society, there are a range of different lifestyles which have different norms, which can be viewed as deviant to others
    • Other theorists
      • Erikson- Thinks the true function of agencies of social control is to keep a certain level of crime rather than eliminate it from society
      • Cohen- Thinks deviance warns us that an institution is not functioning correctly
    • To achieve solidarity society needs socialisation and social control
      • Socialisation- When cultural norms and values are passed on to the next generation and teaches us how to behave within society
      • Social control- Rewards good behaviour and punishes bad behaviour
    • When is the level of crime determined as too much crime?
      • This theory ignores different ways in which crime can function in different groups
        • Crime does not always promote social solidarity and can lead to individuals becoming more isolated
    • Crime causes adaptation and change
      • Too much crime= anomie
        • Durkheim thinks all change began with deviance
          • Too little crime=no change
      • Too little crime=no change
      • New ideas will be deviant as they are different to the existing norms and values
    • Boundary maintainance
      • Crime causes a reaction from society which unites its members for good behaviour
        • Punishments reinforce societies shared norms and values
    • Crime as four characteristics
      • Inevitable- Crime will always exist
        • Relative- Definition of criminal behaviour changes between societies and over time
      • Universal- Crime happens in every societ
        • Functional- Some crime and deviance benefits society


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