Crime & Deviance - Functionalist, strain and sub-cultural theories


Durkheim's Functionalist Theory of Crime - 

Functionalists see society as a stable system based on value consensus - shared norms, values, beliefs and goals. This produces social solidarity, binding individuals together into a harmonious unit. To achieve this, society has two key mechanisms:

  • Socialisation - instils the shared culture into its members to ensure that they internalise the same norms and values, and that they feel it right to act in the ways society requires.
  • Social Control - mechanisms include rewards for conformity, and punishments for deviance.

Crime is Inevitable and Universal:

While crime disrupts social stability, functionalists see it as inevitable and universal. Durkheim sees crime as a normal part of all healthy societies:

  • In all societies, some individuals are inadequately socialised and prone to deviate.
  • In modern societies, there is a highly specialised division of labour and a diversity of subcultures, individuals and groups become increasingly different from one another, and the shared rules of…


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