Functionalist, strain, and subcultural theories

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  • Created by: 11pyoung
  • Created on: 29-12-17 15:30
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  • Durkheim, Functionalism, Crime and Deviance
    • Functionalist, Strain and Subcultural Theories
      • Strain Theory
        • Robert Merton
          • All societies set their members certain goals and provide socially approved ways of achieving those goals
            • In an unequal, class-based society, those in higher classes had more opportunity to succeed than others
        • Aspects of society could become dysfunctional and needed to be changed to get society running smoothly again
          • Crime and  deviance are evidence of a poor fit between the socially accepted goals of society and the socially approved means of obtaining those goals
        • Five types of behaviour identified
          • Conformity
            • The individual adheres to both goals and means, despite the limited likelihood of success
          • Innovation
            • The person accepts the goals of society but uses different ways to achieve those goals
          • Ritualism
            • A person immersed in a daily routine and regulations of their job but has lost sight of material success
          • Retreatism
            • Fails to achieve success and rejects both goals and means
          • Rebellion
            • Both socially sanctioned goals and means are rejected, and different ones substituted
        • Evaluation
          • Merton is too reductive in his stress on the existence of common goals within society
          • He underestimates the amount of middle- and upper-class crime while over-estimating working-class crime
          • Fails to explain crimes that do not produce material rewards
      • Illegitimate Opportunity Structure
        • There is a parallel opportunity structure to the legal one.
          • For some subcultures in society, a regular illegal career was available, with recognized illegal means of obtaining society's goal
        • Three possible adapations
          • Criminal
            • There is a thriving local,criminal subculture, with successful role models.
              • Young offenders can work their way up the criminal ladder
          • Conflict
            • No local criminal subculture to provide a career opportunity but territorial gangs exist which recruit or press-gang young people  into their service
          • Retreatist
            • Individuals have no opportunity or ability to engage in wither of the other two subcultures or to achieve success in legitimate ways.
        • Evaluation
          • It is difficult to accept that such a distinction between the three adaptations exists in real life.
          • No discussion about female deviance or crimes committed by higher social classes
      • Status Frustration and Subculture
        • 'Lower class' boys strive to emulate middle-class values and aspirations, but lack the means to attain success
          • Their upbringing did not equip them to succeed at school, so they found it to get status from exam success
            • Leads to status frustration
        • Lower-class children are much more likely to fail and so feel humiliated
          • In an attempt to gain status, they 'invent' traditional middle-class values by behaving badly and engaging in a variety of antisocial behaviours
            • They gain status from members of their peer group who have adopted similar values
        • Evaluation
          • Influential in studies of delinquency, gangs and subcultures generally and offers a plausible explanation for some offending
          • It may only apply to a minority of offenders who originally accepted mainstream values and then turn against them
          • The opposition to mainstream values was more widespread in the working class because working-class culture does not correspond to the  largely middle-class environment of schools
          • Only attempts to explain male delinquency and says nothing about female delinquency
          • Underplays the significance of relationships outside school, which may play a bigger role in the formation of subcultures
      • Critiques of Subcultural Theory
        • Matza and Sykes
          • There are no distinctive subcultural values
            • All groups in society use a shared set of subterranean values
              • Values that are at the margins of society
          • Most people drift in and out of subcultures, conforming to mainstream values most of the time
        • The seductions of crime
          • Lyng
            • Young males like taking risks and engaging in 'edgework'
        • Neo-tribes
          • Maffesoli
            • States of mind and lifestyles that were very flexible, open and changing
            • Deviant values are of less importance, than a stress on consumption
        • Gangs and  subcultures
          • Peer groups
            • Unorganised groups who hang around together in a particular place
              • Any offending behaviour is incidental
          • Gangs
            • Youth groups with a focus on offending and violence
          • Organised criminal groups
            • Heavily involved in serious crime
    • Society shares a core set of values
      • Collective consciousness
      • The more the behaviour differs from the core values, the more deviant it is
    • Two sides of crime and deviance affecting society
      • Positive crime
        • Helps society change and remain dynamic
      • Negative crime
        • Too much crime; leading to social disruption
    • Positive aspects of crime: Social Cohesion
      • Limited amounts of crime is necessary for any society
      • Crime plays a role in clarifying boundaries between what is and isn't acceptable
        • Reaffirming the Boundaries
          • Publicity in the news reaffirms the existing values of society
        • Changing Values
          • Individuals deliberately setting out to change outdated laws
        • Social Cohesion
          • The drawing together of the entire community after a horrific crime
      • Kingsley Davies
        • Crime is useful as a safety valve
      • Albert Cohen
        • Crime can boost employment and the economy by creating jobs
    • The negative aspects of crime: anomie and egoism
      • Excessive Crime could be the result of anomie and egoism
        • Anomie occurs  when there are periods of great social change or stress, and the collective conscience becomes unclear
        • Egoism occurs when the collective conscience becomes too weak to retrain the selfish desires of individuals
        • These can be countered by  strengthening the collective conscience
    • Evaluation
      • Durkheim was the first to suggest some level of crime is normal in society
      • Durkheim had the Sociological insight to see that crime was linked to the values of particular societies and these values could change
      • Durkheim paid too little attention to how those in power could have undue influence on what acts were seen as criminal
      • Durkheim exaggerated the extent to which there is a collective conscience in society
      • Durkheim was vague in identifying which crimes are beneficial to society

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