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Functionalist Theory and Crime
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917, pictured left)
was the first sociologist to study crime
and significantly influenced the
functionalist theory that would follow.
Durkheim saw crime as a particular
problem of modernity (the transformation
into an industrialised society)
He felt an understanding of crime and deviance was
essential in order to understand how society functioned.
Crime and Deviance Chapter 5:
08/16/2014 Functionalist and Subcultural Theory…read more

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Durkheim and Anomie
Emile Durkheim developed the term
anomie to explain why some people
became dysfunctional and turned to crime.
Anomie means being insufficiently
integrated into society's norms and
values.
Anomie causes society to Anomie causes individuals to
become less integrated look out for themselves rather
and more individualistic than the community.
Crime and Deviance Chapter 5:
08/16/2014 Functionalist and Subcultural Theory…read more

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Crime as an Industrial Problem
Crime and deviance associated with
decline of mechanical solidarity
Durkheim saw prevalent in pre-
industrial societies.
In such societies crime was not
absent altogether but the uniformity
of roles, status and values of the
close-knit community promoted
conformity.
Crime and Deviance Chapter 5:
08/16/2014 Functionalist and Subcultural Theory…read more

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Crime Linked to Social Change
In times of social change
individuals may become unsure
of prevailing norms and rules
They are consequently more at
risk of breaking them.
There is a weaker collective
conscience of shared values
to guide actions.
Durkheim saw Anomie expressed not just through crime, but
also by suicide, marital breakdown, and industrial disputes.
Crime and Deviance Chapter 5:
08/16/2014 Functionalist and Subcultural Theory…read more

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Crime and Deviance Can Be
Both Positive and Negative
Durkheim saw high levels of crime and deviance as very
negative for society causing uncertainty and disruption
However, a certain amount of crime could be viewed
positively, helping to promote change and reinforce values.
Crime
can Universa Function
Normal
be: l al
Crime and Deviance Chapter 5:
08/16/2014 Functionalist and Subcultural Theory…read more

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