Functionalist explanations of crime

HideShow resource information

Functionalists are structural sociologists who see sociecy as a whole rather than looking at  individuals.

Durkheim and crime:

The positive side of crime which helped society change and be more dynamic, our set of shared values ie our collective conscience provides us with a set of boundaries which differs from actions we which are acceptable and those that are not, sometimes these are not clear and it also changes over time. Crime therefore:

  • Reaffirms boundaries- the publicity that newspapers give on crimes that go to court re-affirms boundaries of what is acceptable and not
  • Changes values- the public outry for a person prosecuted signals a change in values and can lead to change in laws to reflect so, an example is the change of attitudes toward the cannabis use.
  • Social cohesion- the sense of belonging to a community is strengthened when a horrific crime occurs
  • Safety valve- deviant acts may be functional as a form of pressure release(prostitues)

Too much crime can have a negative consequence. Where a collapse of the collective conscience has occured and anomie exists, lack of social or moral standards in an individual or…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »