Functionalist perspective on deviancy and Strain
functionalism was the first major sociological approach to crime and deviance, growing from Durkheim in 1858.
Functionalists see society as a stable system based on shared values and socail solidarity. Crime and deviance disrupts this stability.
However funtionalists recognise that deviance is both inevitable and even to some degree functional for society.
Key functionalists include: Durkheim, Merton, Cohen and cloward and ohlin.
Crime is healthy.
Durkeim 1982 states crime is normal, an intergral part of all healthy societies.
Why is deviance found in societies?
Not everyone is equally effectively socialised into the shared norms and values, so some individuals are prone to deviate.
In complex modern societies there is a diversity of lifestyle and values. different groups develop their own subcultures with distinctive norms and values. mainstream culture may see this as deviant.
When people do not have the norms and values of society they are in anomie or normlessness.
People in anomie are deviants who have lost their way in society and need to be helped back by control mechanisms.
Social control is beneficial as it teaches them to behave in a way society expects.
When social control/punishment are inadequate, many social problems occur, including crime.
Positive functions of crime.
It is functional because of the response such activities draw forth from society. (social cohesion) e.g London bombings caused better security.
Through ceremonies such as criminal trials and public punishment, we are reminded of our shared norms and values. it unites people together and creates social solidarity.
By condemning those who have broken rules, not only are norms and values reaffirmed but we also learn the limits of toleration. reaffirming the boundaries)
Other functions of crime.
Davis (1961) argues that prostitution acts as a safety valve for the release of mens sexual frustrations without threatening the nuclear family.
Cohen identifies another function of deviance ; a warning that an institution is not working properly. for example, high rates…