- Created by: orientalnugget
- Created on: 14-06-18 23:36
Durkheim's Functionalist Theory of Crime
- Crime produces social solidarity, binds individuals together into a harmonious unit
- To achieve a harmonious unit, society has two mechanisms: Socialisation and Social Control
Crime is inevitable:
- Crime is a normal part of all healthy societies
- Shared rules of behaviour become less clear
- Durkheim calls this anomie
Durkheim's Positive Functions of Crime
Crime fulfills TWO positive functions:
1. Boundary Maintenance
- Crime produces a reaction which unites its members from the wrongdoer and reinforcing value consensus
- Reaffirms shared rules and reinforces social solidarity
2. Adaptation and Change
- Change all starts as deviance
- Individuals will challenge existing norms but supress them as society will not adapt to their changes and will stagnate
Functionalists other positive functions of devianc
1. Davis' Safety valve: Prostitution acts to release men's sexual frustations without threatening the nuclear family
2. Cohen's warning light: Indicates that there is malfunctioning in institutions e.g. education
Criticisms of Durkheim
- Ignores how crime might affect victims
- No way of knowing how much deviance is the right amount
- Crime does explain why it exists in the first place
Merton's strain theory
Key Points: People in engage is deviant behaviour when they can not achieve socially accepted goals legitamately because of structural factors and cultural factors.
Structural factors: Society's unequal opportunity structure
Cultural factors: The emphasis on goals and using legitimate means to achieve them
Merton's strain theory - The American Dream
- Deviance is the result of strain between the goals a culture encourages individuals to aim and what the structure of society allows them to achieve legitimately.
- Americans are expected to achieve goals through legitimate means e.g. education
- Ideology that American society is meritocratic - poverty and discrimination block opportunities to achieve goals by legitimate means
- Lack of opportunities produce frustration and pressures to achieve goals through illegitimately
- Winning the game is more important than playing by the rules
Merton's adaptation to strain
Individual's positions affect how they adapt to the strain of anomie
1. Conformity - Accepts culturally approved goals and strives for them legitimately > Middle class
2. Innovation - Accepts money success goals but uses illegitamately means e.g. theft > Working Class
3. Ritualism - Gives up on goals but follows the rules for own sake > Lower Middle Class
4. Retreatism - Rejects both goals and legitimate means and drops out of society > Addicts and vagrants
5. Rebellion - Replace existing goals and creates new ones to bring social change > Political Radicals
C I R R R
- Shows how normal and deviant behaviour can arise from mainstream goals
- Conformists and innovators pursue same goals but by different means
Research methods strengths:
- Most crime is property crime thus American society values material wealth
- Patterns are shown in official statistics
- W/C crime rates are higher because they have the least opportunity to achieve them legitimately.
Evalation of Merton:
NOT ALL WORKING CLASS DEVIATE - TOO DETERMINISTIC
Cohen's Status Frustration
Deviance results from the lower classes' inability to achieve through mainstram goals.
Cohen criticisms on Merton's explanation:
- Ignores group deviance
- ignores utilitarian crim e.g. assult
- W/C boys face anomie in the MC education system
- W/C boys are culturally deprived and lack the skills to achieve
- Suffers status frustration and turn to other in the same situation thus forming a subculture
Cohen's alternative status hierarchy
Subcultures offer an illegitimate opportunity structure for bots who fail to achieve legitimately
- Subcultures provive an alternative status hierarchy by winning through deliquent actions
- Subcultures inverts mainstreams values
Cloward and Ohlin's 3 Subcultures
Agrees with Merton, WC boys are denied legitimate opportunities to achieve goals
- Not every adapts to a lack of legitimate opportunites.
- Some subcultures resort to violence, others turn to drugs
- Different neighborhoods provide different illegitmate opportunies to learn criminal careers.
1. Criminal Subcultures - Provides youth with an apprenticeship in utilitarian crime.
2. Conflict Subcultures - Violence provides a release for frustration at blocked opportunities which are within lossely organised gangs.
3. Retreatist Subcultures - Double failures who resort to illegal drug uses
Evaluation of Cloward and Ohlin
- Ignores crimes of the wealthy and over-predicts WC crimes
- Explains different types of WC deviance in terms of different subcultures
- Cohen's and Cloward and Ohlin is a reactive theory - Exlains deviant subcultures as forming in reaction the failiure to achieve mainstream success goals. Wrongly assumes everyones starts of sharing the same goals.
Now try this
EVALUATE MERTON'S STRAIN THEORY OF DEVIANCE.