SOCUNIT4- Functionalist theories

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  • Created by: adaaeze
  • Created on: 22-06-16 16:21

Q) Assess the usefulness of functionalist appraoches in explaining crime (21).

Functionalists see society as a stable system base on shared norms and values, but crime and deviance distrupts this stability. Functionalists see deviance as an inevitable and neccessary part of society.

1- (P):- Functinalists see too much crime as inevitable and a necesary part of society.

(E):- For Durkheim, crime is normal.. and integral part of all healthy societies. Crime and deviance are found in all societies due to the fact that everyone is not equally effectively socialised into the norms and values, so some individuals will be prone to deviate. Also, there is diversity of lifestyles and values, particularly in complex societies. Different cultures develop distinctive norms and values and what the memebers of the subculture regard as normal, mainstream society may see as deviant.

Furthermore, in Durkheims view there seems to be a tendency towards 'anomie' (normlessness) in modern societies. The rules of behaviour become less clear-cut because modern societies have a specialised division of labour, which leads to the individuals becoming different from each other.

(A):- This diversity means that the collective conscience is weakened which results in higher levels of crime and deviance. Explaining why individuals in different societies may turn to crime..

(C):- Durkehim is criticised for not showing what amount of deviance is actually necessary or how much is the right amount.

2- (P):- Durkheim argues that crime fulfils two important postive functions: boundary maintenance and adaption and change.

(E):- Crime produces a reaction from society, uniting its members in criticising the wrongoer and reinforcing their commitment to the shared norms and values. For Durkheim, this explains the funtion of punishment. The purpose of punishment is to bring forward  societys shared rules and reinforce social solidarity. This then discourages others from breaking the rules. Adaption and change shows that all change starts with an act of deviance. Individuals with new ideas and values must not be completely held back by social control- rather, they should should be able challenge and change the existing norms and values, and in the first instance, this will be seen as deviance. If those new ideas are supressed, society will stop flowing and be unable to make necessary…


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