Functionalist Explanations of Crime

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  • Created by: Ellie504
  • Created on: 17-05-16 20:50
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    • Functionalist Explanations of Crime
      • Durkheim
        • Anomie - Being insufficiently integrated into societies norms and values.
          • Society becomes more individualistic and less integrated. Loss of community.
        • Felt crime can be functional as helps to reinforce shared values, encourage progression.
          • Social change begins with some form of deviance!
            • Martin Luther King Jnr
            • Nelson Mandela
            • The Suffragettes
            • Rosa Parks
            • Could Jeremy Corbyn's actions count...?
        • Society needs both crime and punishment otherwise the crime rate would reach the point where it becomes dysfunctional.
        • Crime is a particular problem of MODERNITY.
          • Because family structures are changing in Post-Fordist society.
            • Leading to a lack of sufficient socialisation!
          • Social change causes a breakdown of collective ways of life.
            • Society becomes more individualistic and less integrated. Loss of community.
      • Durkheim Evaluations
        • Offers a social dimension to crime, looking for explanation in society structures.
        • Anomie is useful as a concept.
        • Demeans the impact of crime and deviance by suggesting some crime is functional.
        • Cannot explain why some people are more deviant than others.
        • Treating crime stats as facts doesn't explore deviance/why some are more likely to be labelled than others.
      • Merton
        • Regarded the concept of Anomie as too vague.
          • HIS DEF - A society where there is a disjunction between goals and the means of achieving them.
        • Being blocked from success leads to deviance,the people may adopt illegitimate means to achieve the goals they cant legitimately achieve,
        • Strain Theory
          • Ritualism - Give up on achieving goals, accept their means.
          • Innovation - poor qualifications, unemployed leads to crime as alternative.
          • Retreatism - 'Drop outs' who give up all together.
          • Conformity - non-deviant, non-criminal citizen.
          • Rebellion - Reject existing social goals and means and substitute new ones to create a new society. Revolutionary?
        • Steve Taylor - Be careful what you wish for! Too high dreams lead to illegitimate means!
        • Ethnocentric as only focuses on 'American Dream'
        • Does show how normal and deviant behaviour can arise from the same mainstream goals
        • Can only explain materialistic crimes for money and only explains crime for individuals and not groups
        • Strain theory has contributed a lot to subcultural theories
      • Davis
        • Believes crime does serve a function in society. Acts as a SAFETY VALVE
        • Example - conflict between male instinctual need for sex and societies need for legitimate sex to be kept in family...
          • Deviant behaviour provides an outlet - ****, Prostitution, Adultery.
            • But,,, Protects the family!
        • Backs up Durkheim's view that crime has a societal function.
        • Shows how society is able to maintain social order through locating deviant behaviour.
        • Statistics as social facts again.
        • Demeans victims.
        • Downs and Rock - 'to argue that crime and deviance have certain social consequences does not explain their presence in the first place.
    • Agencies of socialisation reinforce norms and values.
      • Crime occurs when norms and values are not upheld.
        • BUT - some crime strengthens societal bonds as it reinforces norms and values and maintains social order.
          • Punishment is a ISA to wider society and RSA to criminals. (Althusser)
    • Agencies of social control are necessary to keep deviance in check.
    • Crime statistics - viewed as facts and are taken on face value.
      • Therefore - if the crime isnt in a statistic - IT DOESNT EXIST!
        • Green Crime? Corporate Crime? White Collar Crime?


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