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Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach
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Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach

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Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach

Crime and Deviance - Functionalist Approach

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  • 1. IME CR & EV D CE AN I
  • 2. Functionalist Explanations • Key theorists: –Emile Durkheim –Robert Merton
  • 3. Functionalism • Let’s begin with a criticism... “Being peripheral and ad hoc, functionalist criminology may be represented as a somewhat piecemeal accumulation of arguments. It has not been integrated, organized or coherent, and it has not been the subject of lengthy debate.” (Downes & Rock 1995, pg 97) Downes and Rock (1995) Understanding Deviance. Oxford, OUP.
  • 4. Criticism (cont.) • Functionalism has been found wanting in its explanations of society in recent years. • Unlike other major theoretical perspectives such as Marxism, interactionism and feminism, no specific functionalist criminology exists with its own individual interpretations of: crime statistics, the source of criminality and potential policy solutions.
  • 5. Functionalism • This is not to say the functionalist perspective is not important. • It has informed the subcultural theories and the work of Durkheim on deviance still significant.
  • 6. Functionalist Approach • Rather than starting with the individual as with biological and psychological theories, the functionalist analysis of deviance starts begins with society as a whole.
  • 7. Crime as Inevitable • Durkheim argued that crime is an inevitable and normal aspect of social life. • Crime is present in all types of society, indeed the crime rate is higher in the more advanced, industrialized countries. • It is inevitable because not every member of society can be equally committed to the collective sentiments (shared values and beliefs) Haralambos and Holborn (1995) 4ed., pg 389
  • 8. Durkheim • Durkheim imagines a ‘society of saints’ populated by perfect individuals. • In such a society there would be no murder or robbery but there would still be deviance as the slightest slip would be regarded as a serious offence and would attract strong disapproval. Haralambos and Holborn (1995) 4ed., pg 389
  • 9. Crime as functional • Crime is not only inevitable – it is functional. • Durkheim argued it only becomes dysfunctional when it its rate is unusually high or low. • He argues that all social change begins with some form of deviance. • If collective sentiments are too strong – there will be little deviance and little change or progress. Haralambos and Holborn (1995) 4ed., pg 389
  • 10. Crime as functional • Conversely if there is little collective sentiment, there will be too much crime and deviance and individuality rises and the status quo breaks down. • This is what Durkheim referred to as anomie – the loss of shared and guiding principles and norms.
  • 11. Crime as Functional • Durkheim also suggested that crime strengthens social cohesion • By publically condemning those who have broken significant rules we are aware of the norms and values and the limits of toleration and unite against the condemned • The public response to crime and deviance is what is functional as it reinforces social solidarity and integrates society Watch Chris Livesey clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9DgtZ0fbL0
  • 12. The Function of Punishment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZs0KYbD0Gg • According to Durkheim, the function of punishment is not remove crime, but to ‘heal the wounds done to the collective sentiments’. • Without punishment – the collective sentiments would lose their force and strength • For Durkheim – crime and punishment are both inevitable and functional. Haralambos and Holborn (1995) 4ed., pg 389
  • 13. Albert Cohen • Albert K. Cohen identified two possible functions of deviance: 1. A safety valve – deviance provides a relatively harmless expression of discontent. For example, prostitution performs a safety valve function without threatening the institution of the family. 2. Certain deviant acts also act as warning devices to indicate an aspect of society is malfunctioning. For example, truancy in schools may reveal unsuspected causes of discontent leading to changes. Haralambos and Holborn (1995) 4ed., pg 390
  • 14. Criticisms of Durkheim • Durkheim didn’t explain why some groups were more prone to deviance than others or why certain forms of deviance seem to be associated with certain groups. • It was Robert K Merton who provided these answers within a functionalist framework.
  • 15. Robert K Merton (1930s) • Merton argued that deviance resulted from the culture and structure of society itself (structuralist). • He begins from the standard functionalist position of value consensus – that is, all members of society share the same values. • According to Merton culture, especially Western, attaches great importance to the values of competition, success and wealth.
  • 16. Social Structure and Anomie • Since members of society are placed in different positions in the social structure (e.g. they differ in terms of class position), they do not have the same opportunity of realizing the shared values. • This situation can generate anomie and deviance. • He refers to this as strain theory
  • 17. Strain Theory • Merton highlights that there is a strain between the cultural goals of a society (in his study the American Dream) and the legitimate means to achieve these goals. • Those who are at the bottom of the ladder find it hardest to succeed, therefore they are the ones who are more likely to seek alternative routes to success.
  • 18. Varieties of Deviant Responses • Merton identifies five ways in which individuals may respond to the strain between goals and the means of achieving them in society: Conformity Most of the population cope by doing their best and making the most of what society offers them
  • 19. Sir Allen Stanford was accused in connection with an $8bn (£5.6bn) investment fraud. Innovation Commitment to cultural goals may remain strong, but some people reject the conventional means of acquiring wealth and turn to illegal means Ritualism Some people have lost sight of material goals, but derive satisfaction from fairly meaningless jobs
  • 20. Retreatism A small number of people reject both the goals and the means, by dropping out of society Rebellion People may rebel and seek to replace shared goals and institutional means with more radical alternatives, and may use violent methods to achieve this
  • 21. To sum up... • Merton is highly critical of the driving social values in western societies, based on what he sees as competition and greed. • He suggests that this encourages individuals to break the law.
  • 22. Criticisms of Merton • Merton treats deviant responses as exclusively the actions of individuals. He fails to take into consideration the communal aspects of deviance and existence of deviant subcultures. • Albert K Cohen (1950s) has taken issue with Merton’s theory on individual response and they suggest that we should see deviance as a collective response to structurally imposed problems.
  • 23. SUMMARY
  • 24. Deviance • Any behavior, belief, or condition that violates social norms in the society or group in which it occurs: – drinking too much – robbing a bank – laughing at a funeral
  • 25. What Is Social Control? • Practices that social groups develop to encourage conformity to norms, rules, and laws and to discourage deviance.
  • 26. What Is Social Control? • Internal social control takes place when individuals internalize norms and values and follow those norms and values in their lives. • External social control involves negative sanctions that proscribe certain behaviors and punish rule breakers.
  • 27. Functionalist Perspective Deviance serves three functions: 1. Deviance clarifies rules. 2. Deviance unites a group. 3. Deviance promotes social change.

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