Functionalist Explanations for Crime and Deviance

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  • Created by: Ally
  • Created on: 26-04-13 18:33


Durkheim viewed crime and deviance as something positive for society. In fact, he thought the right amount of crime and deviance showed a society to be healthy.

This led Durkheim to conclude that crime and deviance is inevitable and occurs in every society.

Crime and deviance occurs due to a state of 'anomie', by where the norms and values of society become confused and unclear, which causes people to act out in a criminal or deviant manner.

Durkheim further believed that crime and deviance serve a specific function for society. The 'Adaptive Function' of crime and deviance argues that deviance can introduce new ideas into society that encourage social change and the progression of society. For example, the deviant acts committed by the Suffragists introduced the idea of females gaining the vote.

'Boundary Maintenance' solidifies good and bad behaviours, this causes unity and group solidarity. This reinforces the shared value consensus on society's norms and values. For example, members of the public banded together to clear up their communities after the London Riots (2011), this showed that society saw the behaviour as something that went against society's norms and values.


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