(other theorists who support this theory)
(other theorists who disagree with this theory)
Collective Sentiment ‘society of saints’
Organic Societies (restitution)
Mechanistic societies (retribution)
Functionalist takes a normative approach to crime and deviance. They state that there is agreement in society of what is criminal and deviant behaviour. Rather than these laws being implemented they are agreed upon by individuals due to value consensus.
Durkheim identifies two societies and the ways they deal with deviance:
Mechanistic societies ➞ simple and less complex ➞ punishment based on retribution (revenge) for e.g. death penalty.
Organic societies ➞ more complex ➞ punishment based on restitution and rehabilitation (making amends) for e.g. community service.
4 characteristics of crime:
Inevitable – crime will always exists
Universal – crime exists in everyday society
Functional – limited amount of crime is beneficial
Relative – crime varies over culture and times socially constructed
Collective sentiment should not be too powerful. Too much control = lose individuality and originality in society
Crime exists in a society of saints. More laws = more difficult to abide by, people are more likely to rebel
There are some positive aspects of crime on society as according to Durkheim the right amount can be healthy. Society is based on shared values, which can be referred to as The Collective Conscience. This collective conscience provides boundaries and therefore crime can help maintain and clarify these very boundaries.
Functions of deviance:
Marking extremes of behaviour - How far society will allow itself to be pushed.
Reaffirming boundaries - Media, police, courts show consequences
Legitimising Changing values – sympathy for criminal = change law
Strengthen social bonds/cohesion – Legitimising norms and values
Provide safety valve – harmless expression of discontent
Warning Device – Sign society is dysfunctioning
Robert Merton (Strain Theory) – Deviance will occur when members can’t meet set goals.
People have different ways of achieving these goals, as society has a hierarchal structure.
5 Strains between goals and means that can occur:
Conformist: accept means and goals = student
Innovator: reject means and accept goals = criminal
Ritualist: accept means and reject goals = lower middle class
Retreatist: reject means and goals = sects/religious people
Rebel: reject means and goals = terrorism
Hirchi is a functionalist influenced by the work of Durkheim. He focused on informal social control and people do not commit crime.
He had an overview that individuals were neither naturally wicked nor prone to conformity, instead he believed that individuals were ration being that will only turn to crime when the advantages provided by society, outweigh the disadvantages.
There are 4 critical bonds that bind people together which are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief.
For example: NEETS are more likely to commit crimes as they have responsibilities, rather than middle class people who have no spare time to commit crimes due to being career orientated.
Albert Cohen – 2 functions of crime: safety valve and Warning Device
Meton: if majority of people cannot achieve their goals, they become disenchanted and seek other ways – creating anomie
Cohen: supports Durkheim’s idea that in organic societies social control has become more subtle; he studied how modernity and progression has impacted and changed social control in terms of size, density
Murray: underclass- no desire for employment, many short term sexual relationships, children- not seen as their responsibility.
Clarke: make crimes difficult to commit- target hardening: improved locks on housing, more…