Functionalism

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  • FUNCTIONALIST
    • THE 2 FUNCTIONS
      • they see low level crime as inevitable & necessary to society, this operates in 2 ways...
      • 1) MAINTENANCE FUNCTION= maintains social solidarity & collective conscience, strengthens collective values, can act as a 'safety valve'
      • 2) ADAPTIVE FUNCTION= help adapt & change laws, some crime necessary to instigate social change & allow law to develop & evolve with demands of society
    • DURKHEIM
      • crime reinforces the collective conscience & enables the law to reflect wider social change (maintenance & adaptive)
      • people commit crime as they are detached from the collective conscience - leads to social isolation (anomie) which is when criminal activity occurs
    • MERTONS STRAIN THEORY
      • recognises that society is unequal, believes that the inequality means that some people are unable to achieve society's 'shared goals' as they dont have the legitimate means of doing so
      • the gap between what people want & where they are causes strain
    • EVALUATION
      • TAYLOR criticises the notion of shared goals & values
      • marxists say there's no collective conscience or social solidarity, only focuses on WC crime
      • feminists say it's malestream

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