The Normal & the Pathological: (a) What specific facts about crime is Durkheim’s theory designed to explain? (b) Does society punish acts that are inherently wrong or absolutely evil? (c) Why does Durkheim argue that crime is not pathological but normal? (d) What is about crime and why is it pathological? (e) Identify four functions of crime in detail (give examples). (f) In a healthy or utopian society can we eliminate crime? Why will it be possible or why not?
(a) What this specific theory is designed to explain is why society creates criminals. Durkheim applies the model of functionalism to try and understand crime. He starts off by saying that every society manifests crime and is very obvious. Therefore, crime is relevant throughout every society. (b) Society punishes both acts that are inherently wrong and absolutely evil but it varies between the different societies. For example, sex before marriage is a serious crime in some cultures to the point that the individual might be put to death by stones. Where as in the most of U.S. culture sex before marriage is considered to be normal and not looked down upon. (c) Crime exists in every society or in otherwise universal. Since it is universal then it must be necessary. Just how we as human need all our organs working in order to live, every organ of body is essential for societies function. To give an example every society are similar in things such as marriage, religion and therefore these things must be essential to society. So since crime is necessary, then it must be considered normal. Society creates crime because it needs it in order to be able to function normally. Durkheim argues that crime is although culturally relative. What he means by culturally relative is what may not be a crime in one society might be a crime in another. A perfect example of this would be the practices of the savi tribe in New Guinne, Indonesia. The tribe practiced cannibalism and also offered widows on their husband’s funeral pyres. To the tribe this was considered to normal but most of the world would agree that cannibalism is not a good thing. Society’s reactions to the crime is what makes something wrong. (d) What Durkheim argues is pathological is too little or too much crime. He believed that too much crime would cause anarchy or chaos. In other words the laws in place have little or no effect on the values and norms of the people. On the opposite, too little crime would bad in the sense that it can be a cause for no change. If everybody would follow every rule then there wouldn’t be an opportunity for social change. For example if Martin Luther King and many African Americans activists didn’t protest then the civil rights movement would have never been and we as minorities would not have had our freedom of today. Crime is necessary because it elicits punishment but society has to react to the punishment. (e) Crime serves four functions. First, crime/punishment invigorate the social norms (rules). This is done either by weak norms such as jay walking or obeying the speed limit. Or strong norms such as murder or cannibalism. We can see that a harsher punishments like life in prison or death penalty, strengthens the norms. This leads to order or in other words the regulation of human behavior. Second, crime and punishment defines moral boundaries. The court system determines crime and punishment by saying what’s within or outside the law. The purpose is to push people to a center to be able to create a uniformity of behavior. An example of this would be how prisoners wear orange in order to signify that they are wrong and have gone too far. The purpose of boundaries is to be able to keep a center. They are just going to tighten up moral boundaries until someone is likely to violate something and become the “criminal”. Thirdly, it unifies the society by creating cohesion. Through common punishment we are united or bind us together. For example we