Scly4 Functionalist Approach to Crime and Deviance

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Émile Durkheim Pages: 4 (1074 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Functionalist approach to Crime and Deviance
Functionalism sees society as based on value consensus.
Functionalists argue that in order to achieve this solidarity, society has two key mechanisms: socialisation and social control (mechanisms include rewards positive sanctions for conformity, and punishments negative sanctions for deviance)

The inevitability of crime
Durkheim believes that crime is normal, and argues there are at least two reasons why crime and deviance are found in all societies: not everyone is equally effectively socialised into the shared norms and values, so some individuals will be prone to deviate, and particularly in modern societies, there is a diversity of lifestyles and values Different groups develop their own subcultures with distinctive norms and values, and what the members of the subculture regard as normal, mainstream culture may seem as deviant. In Durkheim’s view, modern societies the rules governing behaviour become weaker and less clear-cut. This is because modern societies have a complex, specialised division of labour, which leads to individuals increasingly different from one another. This means that the shared culture or collective conscience is weakened, and this results in higher levels of crime and deviance

The positive functions of crime
Crime produces a reaction from society, uniting its members in condemnation of the wrongdoer and reinforcing their commitment to the shared norms and values. This explains the function on punishment. In Durkheim’s view the purpose of punishment is to reaffirm society’s shared rules and reinforce social solidarity. This can be done through the rituals of the courtroom; this reaffirms the values of the law-abiding majority and discourages others from rule braking. ADAPTION AND CHANGE

For Durkheim, all change starts with an act of deviance. Individuals with new ideas, values and ways of living must not be completely stifled by the...
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