Society provides socialisation into norms and values & social control, e.g rewards for conformity, punishments for deviance.
Durkheim says crime is normal & an integral part of all healthy societies.
There are 2 reasons why Crime and Deviance are found in all societies-
- Not everyone is effectively socialised into the shared norms and values
- There is a diversity of lifestyles and values, e.g subcultures and they may be deviant as part of their lifestyle
Durkheim says in modern society, there is a trend towards anomie or normlessness (the rules governing behaviour become weaker and less clear-cut) and he argues this is a major cause of suicide in modern societies.
Positive functions of crime
Kingsley Davis argued prostitution acts as a safety valve for the release of men's sexual needs without threatening the nuclear family.
Boundary Maintenance - crime reaffirms social norms and values and social solidarity as it unites members - e.g 9/11 shocked people and 'united' Americans.
Cohen argued crime can show flaws in institutions. E.g high rates of truancy may mean our education system is failing us.
Durkheim offers no way of telling how much crime is 'right'.
It doesn't explain what causes crime in the first place.
Crime doesn't always promote solidarity - e.g a rise in muggings may mean women stay at home more often, leading to isolation.
It looks at how crime affects society as a whole, but ignores individuals. E.G seeing a murderer punished may be functional for society as a whole, but may not be functional for the victim.