Three Theories


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conflict theory, functionalist theory and symbolic integrationist theory

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Three Theories

  1. 1. Functionalist theory<br />Conflict theory <br />Symbolic/interactionist<br />Three Theories aboutYouth Crime<br />
  2. 2. Conflict Theory<br />Understands social groups by examining the underlying conflict<br />Sociologists want to understand the power struggles between the groups<br />What causes it?<br />Assumption #1: society is composed of a variety of groups in conflict with each other and each group seeks to impose its own standards/rights/power/norms etc<br />Assumption #2: these norms/values are not shared<br />
  3. 3. Consequences of conflict<br />Because these norms/values are not shared, one group seeks to dominate the others and seeks to improve its standing at the expense of the other.<br />What examples can you think of?<br />If one group dominates, there will be peace and stability but this is imposed by force (or threat) to maintain this state.<br />
  4. 4. Functionalist theory<br />Society is a system of many different parts (groups) that function together to achieve equilibrium/harmony/stability/<br />Sometimes called the status quo<br />Think of your body where all organs must work together for a maximal state of health<br />When these systems (groups, institutions) work well, there is equilibrium <br />When they don’t there is strain and disharmony<br />
  5. 5. Consequences of strain<br />When the parts (systems) of the society are under strain (sometimes because of change), the goals of that society (think values) are not internalized by the individual.<br />Example: Canada, Quebec, Education Act, drop out rate, unemployment problems…<br />Example: Low voter participation rates<br />What are the values/goals that the ‘system’/society has that the individual is not internalizing?<br />
  6. 6. Evolution<br />Social systems evolve VERY SLOWLY and so change takes time<br />Functionalist theory focuses more on order and status quo than on change<br />Functionalist theory focuses on institutions that promote stability (education, churches, temples, government)<br />
  7. 7. Agreement?<br />Both agree that shared values between groups are essential for a society’s health<br />CONFLICT: These values are forced <br />FUNCTIONALIST: These values must be learned <br />Example: families, parents, children = mini societies<br />Youth crime: an example of resistance to values they perceive as ‘forced’ upon them<br />Rejection of mainstream values by the powerless and the minorities<br />
  8. 8. Explaining Crime<br />Conflict theory <br />Youth crime: an example of resistance to values they perceive as ‘forced’ upon them<br />Rejection of mainstream values by the powerless and the minorities<br />Functionalist theory<br />Values are poorly learned, youth + dysfunctional homes, poverty, mental illness, inadequate schools all contribute to creating this problem<br />
  9. 9. Causes of CrimeConflictFunctionalist<br />Delinquency is a reaction of the life condition of a person’s social class<br />People act in ways that suit their social position and power/powerlessness<br />We are a product of our class<br />What are the elements that make up someone’s class?<br />Delinquency is a result of individuals/groups not internalizing the shared values/norms/rules of their society.<br />Some absorb delinquent values.<br />
  10. 10. ConflictFunctionalist<br />Youth crime is concentrated in lower classes because the ruling class sees their behaviour as delinquent<br />More likely to be arrested because the ruling class has the power to do this and controls the police<br />Youth crime is concentrated in the poor because the institutions that are supposed to help are not effective and are dysfunctional<br />(families, schools, peers, neighbourhoods)<br />More likely to be arrested because they commit more crimes<br />
  11. 11. ConflictFunctionalist<br />Delinquency varies from society to society depending upon the political and economic structures of that society <br />Socialist societies have less crime because they have less social/class conflict<br />Delinquency is a constant feature in all societies<br />Capitalist and socialist both have the same rates of delinquency <br />