functionalism c+d

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  • Created by: rianna
  • Created on: 08-05-13 17:33
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  • Functionalist theory of crime and deviance
    • Durkheim sees deviance as  inevitable/ universal, relative, functional
      • Functional- society is a set of shared values which guide are actions, collective conscience. Provides framework to distinguish what is acceptable, but boundaries  unclear
      • Durkheim discussed 3 main elements of the positive contribution of C+D
        • Reaffirming the boundaries, when a person is taken to court, the actions and publicity reaffirms existing values in society
        • Changing values, sometimes when a person is taken to court there is a degree of sympathy can signal change in values and law
        • Social cohesion- when horrific  crimes happen it can draw a community together in outrage creating a sensse of belonging
        • However to much crime can have consequences for society in periods of great social change or stress collecticwe conscience may be weakened and may start to look after own selfish needs
      • Identifies 2 types of society,  Mechanistic  and organic
        • Mechanistic- less complex fairly primitive, punishment is based on retribution and demonstrates society's disgust at breaking of shared values eg public execution
        • Organic- More complex and developed, punishment is based on restitution, offender had to make amends for what they have done eg imprisonment
      • Criticisms doesnt explain why some groups are more prone to deviance than others, eg genders and fails to explain why certain forms of deviance are associated with certain groups
    • See shared norms and values as the basis of social order and social solidarity
    • Hirschi- social control theory
      • Looks at why people don't commit crime
      • Four bonds that binds us together
        • Attachment - to what extent do we care about others opinions
        • Commitment- Personal  investments we make  in our own lives
        • Involvement-How busy are we? is there time for law breaking
        • Belief- How strong is a persons belief they should obey the law
    • A K Cohen Deviance and control
      • Argued deviance had 2 main functions in society
        • Deviance as a safety valve- relatively harmless way for people to let off steam
        • Deviance as a warning device- A signal to society something is wrong or not working
    • Robert Merton Social theory and social structure
      • tries to explain how crime and deviance can be product of society's norms and values
      • American culture attaches great success money, through legitimate means ie working hard. However some have blocked aspirations so turn to crime
      • uses the term anomie to describe how people may feel when they feel they can't live up to societys norms and values
      • 5 models of adaption
        • Conformity, accepting both the goals and means of achieving them. Most common response
        • Innovation- accepting the goals but rejecting the institutionalised means
        • Ritualism- rejecting the goals, go along with educatuon but have no aspirations
        • Rebellion- seeks to replace cultural goals and means with new ones of their group or culture
        • Retreatism- rejecting both goals and means often descends into alcoholism and drugs
        • Known as strain theory
      • Criticisms- not everyones goals in life are the same, not everyone with blocked aspirations turns to crime
    • Evaluation of functionalism
      • Strengths
        • See crime as a safety valve which can have positive function for society,
        • Shows deviance is necessary for social change
        • Mertons theory explains how crime may increase when there is to excessive individualism in society
      • Weaknesses
        • Fails to challenge whos value consensus we are expected to follow
        • How can crime be functional when it causes so much misery?
        • Negleglects the nature of power in society and who it is that makes the laws to be brokem
        • Marxism say the value consensus helps capitalism earn money to spend on consumer goods


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