Functionalist views on crime


Functionalist views on crime:


  • Claimed that crime is healthy for a society, therefore crime can be functional
  • If crime is regulated and managed by the relevant social institutions, it can be beneficial in maintaining the value consensus

Functionalists argue there are three functions of crime:

Boundary maintenence

  • Durkheim says that when people commit crime, they are punished by the criminal justice system
  • This reminds other citizens of the value consensus which therefore strengthens its effectiveness
  • Crime creates social solidarity, a sense of togetherness, in society that serves to bind the wider community together

Warning device

  • Durkheim argues that this is when society needs to adapt and change as a result of crime
  • All change starts with deviance or in extreme cases, criminal activity
  • Individuals must be able to think differently if society wants to evolve further
  • Criminal activity can sometimes show that a current social policy has lost its function in society

Safety valve 

  • Davis suggests that a certain amount of deviant behaciour can be beneficial to the maintenence of social order
  • Davis uses the continuation of prostitution as evidence to support his claim


  • The use…


No comments have yet been made