Durkheim Revision Cards


Why is crime and deviance functional?

1.It acts as a form of boundary maintenance.As once it is committed,it is  often publicly punished.Reinforcing boundaries.

2.Gives individuals an oppurtunity to unite and social solidarity is created.As society unites against the criminals/the deviant.Example:The Manchester Ariana Grande Concert bombing.

3.It allows for adaption and change,without it society would stagnate and their would be no progression in society.Example:Nelson Mandela.

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How much crime is functional?

Durkheime argues that 'the right amount of crime' is necessary.

Too high-Would suggest society is not in solidarity and an 'anomie' would be forming.

Too low-society would stagnate,there would be no progression.

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Why is crime inevitable?

1.Not everyone is equally socialised by the law.

2.Diversity since the modern society has weakened the collective conscience.This has caused an increase in crime as now members  have  their own definition of crime,often attached to their race,gender,heritage etc.

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A03 Durkheime 'Crime/Deviance is functional'

Sociologists that are in support of Durkheime:

Davis-Claims the crime  prostition is functional as it acts as a saety valve for men's sexual frustration and maintains the traditional nuclear family.

Cohen-Claims that crime is functional as it acts as a warning device that an instition is not functioning properloy and requires improvement.Eg-Truancy in education.

Erikson- Society is organised to promote and not eliminate crime,this is evident as agents of social control maintain crime and do not attempt to eradicate it all. Eg-Speeding is tolerated occassionally.

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A03: Strengths and weaknesses of Durkheim’s theory


1.Useful in explaining why crime is prevalent in all societies. 2.Directs attention to the way crime has a latent function.


1.Unscientific. Doesn’t operationalise ‘right amount of crime’. 2.Contests the idea that crime is functional- victims/family 3.Contests idea crime results in social solidarity- terrorist attacks. Impact on Muslims communities in UK. Crime leads to social isolation of women (fear) rather than social integration and solidarity.

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