Crime and deviance-functionalists

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1. Overall, what is Mertons theory?

  • It is the ruling class power and exploitation of the working class that creates anger and deviance.
  • We all follow a set of norms, those who do not agree to these, deviate away from it and creates crime.
  • Crime is evidence for a poor fit between socially accepted goals and the socially acceptable means of achieving these goals.
  • The formation of subcultures and the poor relationship between us and them is what creates crime.
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2. In Durkheims theory, what does re-affirming the boundaries mean?

  • Some crime can act as a pressure release for workers.
  • When someone who is breaking the law is treated with sympathy at the court, the public outcry to this would symbolise changing values.
  • When someone breaks the law, the resulting court sentence and publicity re-affirms the existing values.
  • Where an entire community comes together after a horrific crime and creates a sense of belonging, strengthening the community.

3. What is the negative aspect of Durkheims theory?

  • Individuals can be hurt mentally and physically, and for ethical reasons this is not right.
  • Crime can weaken the adherence to the collective conscience and therefore freed from its social control. People start looking for their own needs this is is anomie
  • It is against the law, which is created to protect others from harm.
  • Crime will bring harm to others in the community , meaning people are not close or bound to their community, making the deviant strays.

4. What are the 5 key terms in Mertons theory?

  • Conformity,innovation,ritualisation, rebellion,retreatism.
  • Involvement, commitment, belief, attachment, law.
  • Ethical rules, ruling class power, involvement in the community, the law,our attachment to society.
  • Involvement, conformity, belief, law, ethics.

5. According to Merton what is the common goal for all of society?

  • Economic and material wealth.
  • Equality for all individuals
  • Equality of educational achievement
  • A happy and cohesive family


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