Functionalist, strain and subcultural theories

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  • Functionalism, Strain and Subcultural theories
  • Functionalism
    • Society is a stable system based on value consensus
      • Value consensus: a set of norms and values that are unanimously shared by a group
      • This produces social solidarity
        • Socialisation: internalise shared culture, norms and values
        • Social control: rewards for conformity and punishment for deviance
    • Durkheim
      • Crime is inevitable and universal
        • In ALL societies, some people are inadequately socialised
          • This means they are prone to deviance
        • MODERN socities have a specialised workforce and diverse subcultures
          • Individuals are thus all very different from eachother, it is hard to identify a singular set of norms and values
      • Functions of crime
        • Boundary maintenance
          • Members of society unite against the criminal
            • This reinforces commitment to value consensus
            • i.e. through punishment
              • Publicly stigmatising criminals shows the divide between RIGHT/WRONG
                • This reinforces commitment to value consensus
        • Adaptation and change
          • For change to occur, individuals must challenge existing norms
            • This will appear as deviance
              • If suppressed, society cannot make necessary adaptive changes and wil stagnate
        • Further positive functions
          • Safety valve
            • Davis
              • Prostitution acts to release men's sexual frustrations without threatening the nuclear family
          • Warning light
            • A.K.Cohen
              • Deviance indicates when an institution is malfunctioning
      • Merton
        • People engage in deviant behaviour when they cannot achieve conventional success through legitimate means
          • Structural factors
            • society's unequal opportunity structure
          • Cultural factors
            • strong emphasis on SUCCESS GOALS, weak emphasis on LEGITIMATE ways to achieve them
          • Deviance is the strain between the goals a culture encourages individuals to aim for and what the sturcture of society actually allows for
          • This ideology claims that society is meritocratic
            • In reality, poverty and discrimination block opportunities for many to achieve by legitimate means
              • Thus, there is a STRAIN between cultural goals and lack of legitimate means
                • This results in the use of illegitimate means i.e. crime/deviance
        • Deviant adaptations to strain
          • Used to explain patterns in deviance
            • Position in society = adaptation to the strain of anomie
              • Conformity
                • Innovation
                  • Ritualism
                    • Retreatism
                      • Rebellion
                        • Create their own goals, try to create change
                      • Reject goals and means, drop out of society
                    • Give up on goals, but follow rules because they are internalised
                  • Accept values, find illegitimate means to achieve
                • Accept values, try to achieve legitimately


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