Durkheim's Functionalist Theory

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  • Created by: Ja11en
  • Created on: 08-03-15 12:48
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  • Durkheim's functionalist theory
    • The Inevitability Of Crime
      • Different groups develop their own subculture with distinctive norms and values
    • Introduction
      • Sees society as based on value consensus
      • Sees members of society as sharing common beliefs and goals
      • Sharing the same culture produces social solidarity
    • Positive functions of crime
      • Boundary maintenance
        • Crime produces a reaction from society, reinforcing their commitment
        • The purpose of punishment is to reaffirm society's shared rules and reinforce social solidarity
      • Adaption and change
        • All change starts with an act of deviance
        • Too much crime threatens to tear the bonds of society apart
        • Too little means that society is repressing and controlling its members too much
    • Other functions of crime
      • Davis argues that prostitution acts as a safety valve for the realease of mens sexual frustration
      • Polsky argues that pornography safely 'channels' sexual desires away from things like adultery
      • Cohen states that deviance acts as a warning that an institution isn't functioning properly
      • Erikson argues that if crime perform positive function then it means society is organised
    • Criticisms
      • Offers no way of knowing what is the right amount of crime and deviance
      • Just because crime may strengthen society doesn't mean it is why it exists
      • Ignores how it might affect different groups or individuals within society
      • Crime may lead to people becoming more isolated (fear)
  • Positive functions of crime
    • Boundary maintenance
      • Crime produces a reaction from society, reinforcing their commitment
      • The purpose of punishment is to reaffirm society's shared rules and reinforce social solidarity
    • Adaption and change
      • All change starts with an act of deviance
      • Too much crime threatens to tear the bonds of society apart
      • Too little means that society is repressing and controlling its members too much

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