Functionalism and Crime #1

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  • Created by: Muy
  • Created on: 10-04-13 15:01


Value consensus creates social solidarity and a stable society.

Crime is inevitable due to inadequate socialisation and anomie (normlessness).

Crimes got 2 functions -> unites people against wrongdoer (value consensus) and punishment reaffirms shared rules e.g. court

ALL CHANGE starts as deviance as it challenges existing norms

Cohen argued deviance implicates malfunction of society e.g. increased truancy

CRITICISMS - doesnt explain why crime exists rather explains its function

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Merton Strain Theory

Deviant behavior occurs when they canny achieve socially approved goals by legit means... e.g. unequal opportunity

AMERICAN DREAM - is to become rich and successful but not everyone has equal opportunities e.g. discrimination therefore using illegitimate means to get there

Deviant adaptation to strain 

- Conformity - accept approved goals and use legitimate means

- Innovator - accept approved goals and use illegiotimate means

-Ritualism - reject approved goals but follow legitimate means

-Retreatism - reject approved goals and means

-Rebellion - replace goals with new ones (social change)

Most crime is property crime and working class crime is highest

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Cohen Status Frustration

Mostly agrees with Merton however

- believes Merton fails to explain group deviance and ignored non-utialitarian crime e.g. vandalism 

Working class boys lack status in middle class education therefore turning to subcultures

This subculture can provide a different hierachy, praising deviancy, this is called alternative status

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