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Sociology - Crime
Topic 1 - functionalism, strain and sub cultural
theory…read more

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·Emile Durkheim:
·Society is based on value and consensus providing social solidarity by:
·Socialisation - instils shared culture to ensure members internalise the same norms and values and act in ways
society requires
·Social control - rewards conformity and punishes deviance to ensure members act the way society wants
·Too much crime destabilises society
·Crime is inevitable and universal
·Crime is a part of all healthy societies for 2 reasons;
·Not everyone is socialised into the same culture therefore some are more prone to crime and deviance than
·In complex, modern societies, culture is diverse so different groups develop subcultures with distinctive norms
regarded as norms which mainstream society view as deviant
·There's tendency towards anomie; therefore collective conscience is weakened resulting in crime…read more

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·Anomie (rules governing behaviour weaken as modern society is complex,
with a specialised division of labour leading to people becoming different to
each other) is a major cause of suicide in modern societies
·Crime fulfils 2 positive functions;
·Boundary maintenance - crime creates a reaction uniting members in
condemnation of the wrong doer reinforcing commitment to norms and
values (it explains punishment as the court publicly stigmatises the offender
reaffirming culture of law abiding citizens)
·Adaptation and change - change begins with an act of deviance as it is a
challenge to existing norms and values which initially appears deviant but in
future gives rise to a new culture…read more

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·Each signal a malfunctioning of the social system;
·Too much crime tears bonds of society
·Too little crime shows society is too controlling
preventing freedom and choice…read more

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Other functions of crime
·Kingsley Davis: prostitution acts as a safety valve for the
release of men's sexual frustrations without damaging the
nuclear family
·Ned Polsky: pornography safely channels a variety of
sexual desires from alternatives like adultery thus reducing
threat to the nuclear family
·Kai Erikson: if crime an deviance perform positive social
functions, society is organised to promote deviance…read more

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Criticisms of functionalism
·Ignore how crime may affect different groups and
individuals in society
·Crime can lead to people becoming isolated in society,
not always social solidarity
·Crime is a supposed function, but it doesn't mean society
creates crime in advance with the intention of
strengthening social solidarity…read more

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