Explaining crime and deviance - Functionalist, strain and subcultures

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Functionalist,strain and Subcultures theories explaining crime and deviance
    • Mertons strain theory
      • p's engage in deviant acts when they are unable to achieve goals by legitimate means
      • Merton says it is the result of strain between - Goals encouraged and the way society legitimately allows them to achieve these goals
      • People respond to strain by - conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion
      • Most criminals accept the dominant values of society but  cannot achieve achieve them so they resort to crime
      • Merton used official stats showed most crime was property based and committed by the lower social class groups.
      • Eval  - He used official stats this showed a wc culture but isi it?   it is a deterministic approach as many experience strain but don't turn to crime!  Marxist argue it ignores ruling class.  Assumes value consensus.  Not explain crimes of violence or vandalism.
    • Durkheim
      • Anomie normlessness reason for crime
      • saw crime as necessary and beneficial for society and strengthens collective values
        • positive functions of crime
          • Boundary maintenance- what is right
          • social change - new ideas e.g homosexuality
          • Acts as a warning e.g truancy in school
      • 2 reasons  why we have crime and deviance
        • Not everyone is  equally  socialised
        • modern societies have created subcultures which differ and are seen as deviant our involved in deviant acts
      • Eval -  Society requires deviance to function however we have no way of know how much is right.  Crime strengthens solidarity's is not why it exist.  It fails to ask 'function for whom' .   Doesn't always promote solidarity as opposites become isolated
    • Problems for sociologist
      • Crime and deviance is a social construction and changes over time
      • 'Normal' people commit crime such as speeding and they are not seen as deviant
      • Criminality usually peaks in early adulthood many then stop  the behaviour was driven by chemicals we would expect it to continue
    • Subcultural strain theories
      • Deviance is the product of delinquent subcultures from with different values from thos of mainstream society
      • Cohen - Status Frustration
        • Agrees with merton but crits on two things - merton sees crime as a individual thing , most is done in groups.  - merton focuses on utilitarian crime for material gain ignores those with no economic gain
        • Focuses on deviance among wc boys they face anomie in mc dominated schools system .  unable to achieve by legit means they suffer status frustration
        • Delinquent subcultures inverts mainstream values .  subcultures offer Alternative status hierarchy for the boys
        • Eval offer explanation for utilitarian crime.  assumes wc boys had started off sharing mc goals only to reject these and fail ignores the possibility that they didn't share these in first place
      • Cloward and Ohlin
        • 3 subcultures - different groups respond differently to the areas in which they live and the illegitimate opportunities available
        • criminal subcultures - provide youths with opportunities for career .  Adults able to select from young
        • Conflict subcultures-  arise in areas of high population turnover prevents professional criminal network developing , gangs exist but constantly changing
        • Retreatist Subculture - 'double failures' deviant outsiders fail in illegitimate and legitimate opportunities
        • Eval  - agree with merton and cohen that most crimes are wc this makes it deterministic and over predictive    provides explanation for wc deviance.  it assumes everyone shares mainstream goals.  lower classes are independent .  Recent strain theory's have shown that young people pursue variety of goals


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

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