C+ D Topic 1: Functionalist, Strain and Subcultural Strain Theory

Sociology - crime and deviance topic 1

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  • Functionalist, Strain and Subcultural Theories
    • Durkheims functionalist theory
      • society is a value consesnsus, that has a culture based on norms +values
      • socialisation and social control
      • Inevitability of crime
        • Crime exists universally
        • Not everyone is equally socialised
        • Different people are brought up in different subcultures
        • Diversity of culture has caused gov. rules to be less clear cut = anomie
        • Positive functions of crime
          • Adaptation and change
          • Boundary maintanance
          • Davis: it acts as a safety valve
          • Polsky: *********** safey channels
          • Erikson: c+d cause society to be even = society make crime
    • Mertons Strain Theory
      • Strain theory: people commit crimes when they have no legit means
      • Merton uses Durk. study on anomie to explain deviance.
      • Sturctural factors: unequal structure
      • Cultural factor: strong emphasis on success less on means to achieve
      • strain between: goals encouraged and institutions that allow it to happen
      • American dream
      • Deviant adaptations to strain
        • Conformity, rebellion, retreatism, innovation and ritualism
    • Subcultural strain theoires
      • Cohen: Status frustration
        • Agrees with Merton that D is a low class phenomenon
        • Cohen criticises Merton on 2 grounds; D is a response to strain and that not all crimes are utilitarian
        • Alternative status heirachy; heirachy that spites M/C views/norms
        • Deviance among W/C boys - they face amonie in M/C education as they suffer cultural dep. = status frustration = delinquent subculture
      • Cloward + Ohlin: 3 subcultures
        • Criminal - provides youths with utilitarian crimes
        • Conflict - closest described by cohen, its based on gang crime
        • Retreatist - double failures who drop out of society -  c+o say use drugs
      • Recent Strain Theories
        • Young people may aspire goals that are not money success
        • Institutional anomie theory - Messner and Rosenfeld
          • America are obsessed with money success - 'winner takes it all!'
          • It causes mental pressure
          • Schools are turned into markets: marketisation, they sell their kids to companies + get them ready to work
          • Society is based on free- market capitalism = lack of welfare provisison


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