Durkheim's functionalist theory

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Durkheim's functionalist theory
    • Functionalists argue that in order to achieve social solidarity, society has two key mechanisms:
      • 1. Socialisation
        • This instils the shared culture into its members.
        • This helps to ensure that individuals internalise the same norms and values of society.
          • This will cause them to act in a way that society wants them to/requires.
      • 2. Social control
        • Rewards (positive sanctions for conformity)
        • Punishments (negative functions) for deviance.
    • The inevitability of crime
      • Crime is inevitable and universal
        • There is not one known society that doesn't have some form of crime or deviance.
          • Therefore a 'crime-free' society is a contradiction to itself.
        • "Crime is normal, an integral part of all healthy societies."
        • It is found in all societies for 2 reasons:
          • 1. Not everyone is equally effectively socialised into the norms and values of society so certain individuals will be prone to deviate.
          • 2. In modern complex societies, there is a diversity of lifestyles and values.
            • Different groups develop their own subcultures and therefore their norms and values are distinct.
              • Although mainstream culture may regard this as deviate, people within these subcultures regard them as normal.
            • In modern societies, there is a tendency towards  anomie (normlessness)
              • This is because the rules governing behaviour become weaker and less clear cut.
                • This is because modern societies have a complex, specialised, division of labour which leads to individuals becoming increasingly different from one another.
    • The positive functions of crime
      • Boundary maintenance
        • Crime produces a reaction from society, uniting its members against the wrongdoer (criminal) and reinforcing their commitment to the shared norms and values.
          • It is not to make the wrongdoer suffer or mend is ways/remove crime from society..
        • This may be done through the rituals of the courtroom which dramatize wrongdoing publicly and stigmatise the offender.
        • Cohen: The important role played by the media in this dramatization of evil.
          • In his view, media coverage of crime and deviance often creates folk devils.
      • Adaptation and change
        • All change starts with an act of deviance.
        • There must be some scope for people to challenge and change norms and values.
    • Neither very low or a very high crime rate is desirable.
      • Too much crime tears the bonds of society and causes normlessness.
      • Too little means that society is repressing and controlling its members.
        • Untitled


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »