Functionalist explanations of crime and deviance

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  • Created on: 04-02-16 11:56

Functionalist explanations of crime and deviance

Outline and assess Functionalist explanations of crime and deviance (50)

Emile Durkheim 1895 (Negative aspects of crime)

  • Pre-industrial societies – crime is rare because family and religion were powerful agencies of socialization and social control

  • This ensured an influential combination of consensus and community which had a powerful influence over personal behaviour

  • Industrial cities - high rates of crime because the complexity of modern life undermined authority of family and religion

  • Consensus, community & social controls are weaker – so more people experience anomie

  • Anomie = sense of moral confusion that weakens their commitment to shared values and rules – encouraging crime & deviance

Crime functions for benefit of society: (Positive aspects of crime)

Can provoke positive social change, Create public outrage, pursuit, trial and punishment of criminals reassures people that society is functioning effectively whilst reminding them of acceptable social boundaries of behaviour and minor cirmes act as a safety valve - prevent more serious crimes taking place.

1) Reaffirming the boundaries 2) Changing values 3) Social cohesion


He ever explains why certain social groups commit crime, he neglects the fact that some crimes are always dysfunctional and Marxists argue that he


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