Functionalism

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  • Functionalism
    • Society is based on value consensus - sees members of society as sharing norms and values.
      • This produces social solidarity. To achieve this social solidarity, society has two key mechanisms:
        • Socialisation - Instils a shared culture.
        • Social Control - Mechanisms include rewards for conformity and punishments for deviance.
    • See too much crime as destabilising society, they also see crime as inevitable and universal.
    • Durkheim - 'Crime is normal... an integral part of all healthy societies'.
      • Two reasons why crime and deviance are found in all societies:
        • Not everyone is equally socialised, so some individuals will be prone to deviate.
        • Diversity of lifestyles and values.
      • Boundary Maintenance - The reason for punishment is to reaffirm society's shared rules and reinforce social solidarity. This reaffirms the values of the law - abiding majority and discourages others from rule - breaking.
      • Adaptation and Change - All change starts with an act of deviance. Too much crime threatens to tear the bonds of society apart. Too little means society is repressing and controlling its members too much.
    • Davis - prostitution acts as a safety valve for the release of men's sexual frustrations.
    • Criticisms: Durkheim gives no perfect amount of deviance to allow a perfect society.
      • Ignores crime's effect on the individual.
        • Crime doesn't always promote solidarity. Leads to people becoming more isolated.

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