Functionalists views towards crime

  • Created by: India JJ
  • Created on: 13-06-18 20:26
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  • Functionalist views on crime
    • Durkheim- crime is inevitable as not society is diverse therefore not everyone can share the same norms and values, people form subcultures and have their own values- this causes conflict
      • Punishing crime- boundary maintenance, publicly punishing offender establishes social solidarity among innocent and reinforces value consensus
      • Also recognises that it allows social change as people can question the pre-existing norms e.g. homosexuality used to be a crime
      • Not all crimes are useful- sex crimes have terrible effect on victim
    • Merton's strain to anomie- people react differently in their attempt to achieve normlessness (mainly society's stress on money and status
      • Conformity- traditionally a white middle class reaction whereby they accept the goals of society and follow legitimate pathways of achieving them
        • Over anticipates working class crime
      • Innovation- accept goals of society yet find new ways (sometimes criminal) of achieving them e.g. theft
      • Ritualism- disregarding prescribed goals of society yet following conforming to behavioural expectations
      • Retreatism- rejecting goals and legitimate forms of behaviour by being homeless or turning to drugs
      • Rebellion- reject goals and replace with own in new society
      • ignore the abundance of white collar crime which Snider argues  is in fact more harmful to society!
      • What about non-utilitarian crime e.g. freedom fighters
      • if there's no such thing as a value consensus people don't feel pressured to achieve society's goals of wealth and status as they don't agree with society
    • Cohen- crime has some positive functions- safety valve e.g. prostitution relieves the tensions of family life without damaging the family structure,
      • Clinard- Also warning device- sheds light on a failing institution.
    • Cloward and Ohlin- 3 subcultures that youths retreat to in order to achieve status and validation.
      • Criminal- cant find legitimate work but turn to complex criminal subcultures often in cities- here they find status
      • Conflict-lack of legitimate and illegitimate work so turn to gangs and petty crime to find belonging
      • Retreatist- fail legitimate, criminal and conflict cultures so turn to drugs and homelessness.
      • Rosenfeld- this strain for wealth exists in all social classes as capitalism is constantly telling people to consume e.g occupational white collar crime is crime made by employees against the company


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