Functionalist - Durkheim view on crime and deviance

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  • Functionalist - Durkheim
    • society has two key mechanisms
      • Socialisation
        • instils shared culture into its members
      • social control
        • Rewards for conformity
        • punishments for deviaance
    • Inevitability of crime
      • Durkheim says "crime is normal, and integral part of all healthy societies"
      • Two reasons why crime is found in all societies;
        • Not everyone is equally socialised into shared norms and values
        • Diversity of lifestyles and values
        • In Durkheim's view - there is a tendency towards Anomie
    • Positive functions of crime
      • Boundary Maintenance
        • Explains the functions of punishment
          • Reaffirm society
          • Reinforces social solidarity
        • Learn the limits of toleration and unite against the condemned
      • Adaption and Change
        • All change starts with an act of deviance
        • Too much crime threatens the bonds of society
        • Too little crime means society is controlling its members
      • Other functions of crime
        • Davis = Safety Valve
          • Prostitution releases mans sexual frustration, without threatening the nuclear family
        • Polsky
          • Pornography safety channels a variety of sexual desires
            • Prevents adultery
        • Cohen
          • Warning function
        • Erikson
          • If crime and deviance perform positive functions, it means society is organised
    • Criticisms
      • Durkheim offers no way of knowing how much deviance is the right amount
      • he explains crime as having a function
        • Doesn't mean society creates crime with the intention of strengthening  solidarity
      • ignores how crime affects people within society
      • Crime doesn't always promote solidarity. It may have the opposite affect


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