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The Functionalist view on Crime and Deviance

Functionalism is a structural theory based on consensus. Believes in order to achieve
solidarity, society had two mechanisms
Socialisation ­ Learning the norms and values of society, firstly through the family
and then through other institutions such as education.

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Ritualism ­ the individual has lost sight of the goals and gives up trying to
achieve these goals but follow the rules for their own sake. Typical of lower
middle class office workers in dead end jobs.
Retreatism ­ individual rejects goals and means. Includes psychotics, outcasts…

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Short & Strodbeck found little evidence to show gangs of youths rejected middle class
Box suggests that Cohen's theory can only be applied to a small percentage of deviant
Box argues that it might be the case that W.C youths ever accepted mainstream values

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We hold two levels of value;
Conventional values such as role of father
Subterranean values such as values of sexuality

Matza suggests we justify crime as an exception to the rule `Yes what I did was
wrong but...'
Matza identified five types of justification
Denial of responsibility…

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Danny Skeels


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