Functionalist View on Crime and Deviance, including criticisms

Showing all funcionalist views on Crime and Deviance, including criticism and contextual examples.

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  • Functionalist view on Crime and Deviance...
    • Durkhiem
      • Positive
        • Helps society to change and remain dynamic.
        • 1) Re-affirming boundaries; catching and punishing criminals sends out a message about where the 'line is crossed'.
          • e.g. London Riots, Peter Sutcliffe etc.
        • 2) Changing values; prosecution of a criminal can lead to sympathy and changing attitudes which in turn changes the law.
          • e.g. Capital Punishment and Homosexuality.
        • 3) Social Cohesion; Very horrific crimes can lead to a shared outrage and can bring a society together, strengthening it.
          • e.g. Blitz, James Bulger murder and Philpot (6 kids fire.)
      • Negative
        • Too much crime can be damaging and have serious consequences.
        • In periods of great social change or stress the collective conscience could be weakened, and so can lead people to sough selfish interests rather than sticking to social values
          • e.g. Industrial Revolution and War.
        • Anomie reached as no shared norms and so crime rockets, can only be brought under control through the re-imposing of the collective conscience.
    • Hirschi
      • Bonds of Attachment; crime happens as attachments to society are weakened.
        • ATTACHMENT; people's opinions, if we care about them we are less likely to have an attachment.
        • COMMITMENT; what have you got to loose, the more e.g. family and house, less likely to commit crime.
        • INVOLVEMENT; having the time to do it.
        • BELIEF; how strong is out belief that we should obey the rules of society.
        • The greater the attachment the person has to a society the lower level of crime there will be.
    • Etzioni
      • Communitarianism
        • Changes in modern society have pushed decision making further away from local communities.
        • Feeling powerless and that control is in police and state.
        • Communities should engage in direct action of offenders and to support those locally.
        • Has been criticised for promoting vigilante behaviour and providing scope for prejudice against certain deviant groups.
          • e.g. publishing the sex offenders list.
    • Putnam
      • Social Capital
        • Strong social communities are key to social control.
        • Encouraged 'privatise' our leisure so in less of a social group.
          • e.g. Computer technology and gaming.
        • Areas of lower crime have strong community groups.
        • Some strong community groups can mean the exclusion for others.
    • Merton
      • Crime and Deviance was the product of shared values and goals, rather than breakdown.
      • Strain theory;
        • Strain between accepted goals and the socially accepted means of getting these goals
        • Not everyone can reach socially accepted goals legitimately so turn to illegitimate  (crime).
        • Those in lower social order have restricted goals so seek alternative ways, 5 responses to strain.
          • 1)CONFORMITY; accept position and lower goals.
          • 2)INNOVATION; person accepts goals but finds different ways of achieving them.
          • 3) RITUALISM; loose sight of goals as get used to everyday life.
          • 4) RETREATISM; rejects goals and means, so withdraws from society.
          • 5) REBELLION; replaces goals and means with alternatives which usually go against social norms.
      • 'American Dream' is not a shared goal by all societies.
      • Large variety of values and goals within a society.
      • Not all crimes are for financial profit, some crimes are for 'fun', and also why do successful people feel the need to commit crime.
      • In Japan they are taught a great importance on respect and not financial success, and so goals are different.
      • Many do not achieve goals yet do not turn to crime.


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