The Functionalist Approach to Crime summary
Functionalists put crime in the wider context of social order e.g. norms and values and the function of crime.
Durkheim – Crime is inevitable
Ø Crime Acts as a Boundary Marker – it introduces what human behaviour is not acceptable and may distort social order.
Ø Facilitates Change – encourages policy changes e.g. the Soham murders introduced DBS checks into the employment procedure which ultimately protects children from future crimes by disallowing dangerous persons into the workplace.
Erikson: In the 1960’s, Erikson introduced the idea of the boundary function being used merely to oppress the working class and having no effect on the elite class, with rules rarely applying to them. The working class are exposed to punishments which occur in exchange for deviant behaviour, so they are fearful of committing crime. Durkheim therefore ignores the role of power.
Punishments are functional, not crime itself
Very macro and undermines the feelings of the people involved e.g. family of victims, as well as the social disorder crime can cause
Overall it is invalid to assume that crime is merely beneficial as it can have a profound effect on individuals, however these micro experiences can be beneficial to other members in society e.g. as the result of DBS checks being implicated.
Cohen – Two positive functions of deviance
· A safety valve –…