AQA A2 Sociology Unit 4 - Crime and Deviance - Functionalism

  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 22-04-14 18:26

Functionalism one

  • Formal Sanctions to control deviance - Authority
  • Informal Sanctions to control deviance - Social disapproval

Crime - Behaviour that breaks formal written laws / Deviance - Goes against social norms

Durkhiem - Crime is Functional, Inevitable and Normal

  • Functional - Maintains boundaries, Strengthens shared values, Social change
  • Inevitable -  Not everyone is equally socialised (Traveller lifestyle is different) 
  • Normal - Every society has crime - social upheval. People think selfishly causing anomie



  • Assumes all societies are harmonious
  • Does not state a level of 'good' crime
  • Crime does not always promote solidarity 

Normative = Normal view on crime & Relative Approaches = no shared values (Too Complex)

Manifest Function = Intended consequence of institution (Punishment) /Latent Function = Unintended consequence (Better ways of commiting crime) 

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Functionalism - Merton Strain Theory

Strain theory - Deviance occurs as people are prevented from achieveing goals legitimately

Merton - American Dream - Achieved through hard work and career success

  • The goal that culture encourages people to achieve
  • Ability to achieve that goal through opportunity

Disadvantaged people are denied that opportunity to achieve through poverty and education

Strain between opportunities through - education, financial success and career - and the effects of inadaqute socialisation and ethincity = Pressure is Strain to Anomie

More Pressure in USA as emphasis to achieve is my all means necessary, legitimate or not 

Societal norms are not strong enough to prevent illegitmate achievement

  • Conformists  - Means + Goals / Innovators - illegitimate Means + Goals / Retreatests - No Means + No Goals 

CriticismsOnly explains utilitarian crimes that involve a profit 

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