Durkheims Functionalist theory on crime and deviance

  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 23-04-15 16:38
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  • Durkheim's Functionalist theory
    • Durkheim argued that crime was 'a normal and integral part of all healthy societies.'
      • There are at least 2 reasons why crime and deviance are found in all societies
        • 1) Not everyone is equally effectively socialised into the shared norms and values of society
        • 2) In complex modern societies there is a diversity of lifestyle and values. Different groups develop their own subculture which may have different values to the rest of society.
      • Also in modern societies there is a tendency towards normlessness and anomie - the rules governing behaviour become weaker and less clear cut - collective conscience is weakened.
    • Positive aspects of crime
      • Boundary maintenance
        • Every time somebody gets taken to court, the court ceremony and publicity in the newspapers, reaffirms existing values - people reinforce their commitment to shared norms and values through condemnation of the wrongdoer
      • Adaptation and change
        • All change starts with an act of deviance. Individuals with new ideas must not be completely stifled  by the weight of social control
      • Social Cohesion
        • When particularly horrific crimes  have been committed the entire community draws together in shared outrage and the sense of belonging to a community is strengthened
    • Evaluation
      • Durkheim stresses consensus of society yet ignores conflict and power


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