Sociology Crime and Deviance-Durkheim


Durkheim (1893)

"Crime is integral part of all healthy societies"

Durkheim believes that modern societies tend towards anomie or normless- the rules governing behaviour become weaker and less clear-cut. Durkheim believes this because modern societies have a complex, specialised division of labour, which leads to individuals becoming different from one another. Therefore, this weakens the shared culture or collective conscience and results in higher levels of deviance. 

Durkheim sees crime as fulfilling two important positive functions.

1. Boundary maintenance

Crime produces a reaction from society, which unites its members in condemnation of the criminal and reinforces their commitment to their shared norms and values.

Durkheim believes this explains the function of punishment. He believes the purpose of punishment is to reaffirm society's shared rules and reinforce social solidarity.

He believes this can be done through the rituals of the courtroom, which dramatise wrongdoing and publicly shame…


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