Functionalist Theory (Crime and Deviance)

View mindmap
  • Functionalist Theory (Crime and Deviance)
    • Crime has a function of creating social control as well as a value consensus shared by all of society
      • Durkheim said "Crime is normal... an integral part of all healthy societies"
      • Not everyone  shares the same norms and values. Some are more prone to deviant.
      • Different diversities mean different shared norms and values what some may consider 'normal', others may see it as deviant
      • In modern society behaviours have became weaker and less clear cut
        • This causes individuals to be more different to one another so a collective consensus is weakened / hence more crime.
    • Positive Functions of crime
      • Boundary Maintenance:Crime allows society members to unite to condemn the wrongdoer and reinforce their commitment to the shared norms and values.
      • Punishment is to reform societies shared rules and reinforce social solidarity.
    • Adaption and Change
      • Durkheim says that all change starts with an act of deviance.
      • Deviance that has turned to change will give rise to new cultural norms and values
        • Too much crime threatens to tear the bonds of society apart
        • Too little crime means that society is repressing and controlling its members too much, stifling individuals freedom and preventing change.
      • Therefore crime and deviant behaviour is higher in more advanced and industrialised countries.
        • This is because there is more people from different cultures which results in more people not staying to the social norms
      • Durkheim imagines a "society of saints" where there is no serious crime but still deviance to promote change and development
        • He states society becomes dysfunctional when the crime rate becomes too high or low
      • Durkheien sates that crime streghnthems social cohesion
    • Kingsley Davis said "Prostitution acts a safety valve for the release of men's sexual frustrations without threatening the nuclear family".
    • Kai Erikson said "if crime and deviance performs positive social functions, then perhaps it means society is actually organised so as to promote deviance."
    • Criticisms
      • Functionalism looks at what functions crime serves for society as a whole and ignores how it might affect different groups or individuals within society.
      • Crime doesn't always promote solidarity. It may have the opposite effect and lead people to become more isolated.


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »