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Durkenheim Functionalist

By Motoaroil Jun 20, 2012 326 Words

After reading Chapter Three of the text, Introduction to Sociology and the article, Durkheim’s Classic Contribution, consider the following question, why do you think Emile Durkheim allege that if we didn’t have deviants, we would create them? Support your answer with detailed examples.
Within the context of the functionalist perspective, Durkheim made a real interesting point. You must have deviants in society in order for society to know where or what their values and norms will tolerate. If not then how can a society put laws in place or determine the rules. It also reaffirms the existing values and norms (Vissing, 2011). From my perspective, It's a chicken or the egg conundrum. If not one single person ever committed assault in a society then there would never be a law that says it is illegal or wrong.


Vissing, Y. (2011), An Introduction to Society, Bridgepoint Education, Inc., San Diego, CA. Retrieved from


Deviance occurs when there is a violation of the values and norms that affirm what a society deems desirable. A society's values and norms define what is important and how people are supposed to behave. They reaffirm the solidity of the community; society functions smoothly when the rules are clear and there is consensus about their implementation. When people deviate from the widely embraced norms and values, the community may react in such as way as to penalize the individual and try to bring them back into adherence with the community. When individuals violate the ways people are supposed to think and act, social groups may step in to help keep people in line. In sociological terms, functionalist theorists would remind us that it is important that (a) everyone know the rules of social living, and (b) everyone follow them. Societies exert a great deal of social control over people's actions, and also attempt to influence their thoughts and the way they look at things (Macionis, 2010)

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