Crime and Deviance - Theories - Functionalism & Sub-Cultural (Durkheim…
Crime and Deviance - Theories - Functionalism & Sub-Cultural
- Crime is
as individuals are exposed to different influences and circumstances, so not everyone can be equally committed to the shared norms and values of society, which means they don't adhere to the
small amount of crime is necessary
and beneficial to society, so much so that society
could not exist without it.
positive functions of crime:
Reaffirming the boundaries:
every time someone breaks the law and is taken to court it reaffirms the existing values and deters the majority of people from committing crime
when particularly horrific crimes have been committed, the entire community comes together in shared outrage, and social solidarity is increased
Enabling social change:
some deviance is necessary to allow new ideas to develop, and enable society to change and progress. "Yesterdays deviance must become today's normality"
Provides a safety valve:
deviance can release stress in society, for example mass violent protests may act as an expression of discontent and avoids something worse happening
Acts as a warning device:
a limited amount of crime and deviance can suggest that society is not working properly and can highlight underlying problems that need solving before serious threats arise.
Excessive crime could be due to
, which is a sense of normlessness. Anomie occurs when there is great periods of rapid social change and people are unsure on what societies norms and values are. It causes society to become more
and too much anomic behaviour can threaten societies stability.
Influential- first to consider crime as normal - father of criminology- central in development of crimonology
Saw that crime was linked to different societies values and that those values can change
-Exaggerating the extent of value consensus/collective conscience
-Vague-what crimes are beneficial and to what extent?
-Failed to explain why some commit crime and others don't
Ideas such as
the American dream
can cause people to turn to crime if they cant achieve it
have less opportunities to achieve these socially set goals (american dream) they are
more likely to turn to crime
to achieve them.
used Durkheim's anomie to explain this
+Provides theoretical reasons to explain why people commit crime
+outlines a number of different types of deviance
believes that Mertons theory can have practical applications as
can explain London riots in 2011
Merton identify five different
modes of adaptation:
Non-deviant, non-criminal conformist, who continues to adhere to both goals and means set by society
Can't achieve goals by approved means, turn to crime and deviance instead.
Give up on achieving goals but stick to means (e.g. office workers who give up hopes of a promotion)
Individuals fail to achieve success and reject both goals and means, e.g. drug addicts
Reject existing goals and means but substitute new ones (e.g. religious fundamentalists)
Individual differences-people have different goals, not everyone shares the same ones
crime, only really looks
that social order is based on shared norms and values, however he looks at
why most people don't commit crime
social bonds of attachment
which pull people away from crime and towards conformity:
Family, friends, community etc.
Future, career, success, personal goals etc.
Honesty, morality, fairness, patriotism, responsibility etc.
School activities, sports teams, community organisations, religious groups, social clubs etc.
-Cannot explain the variety of forms of deviance
-It doesn't recognise that it is possible to be deviant and have tight social bonds
-Merton would disagree as he thinks crime is to do with values not bonds
+Explains why people do and therefore don't commit crime
+Recognises the importance of socialisation and social control n maintaining stable society.
+Offers an accessible explanation as to why most people appear to conform whilst explaining why others may break rules.
Cohen argues that
believe in the
success goals of mainstream culture
, but their experiences of failure in education, living in deprived areas and having the worst chances in the job market mean they have
little opportunity to attain them
They feel they are
denied status in mainstream society
, and experience
They react to this situation by developing an
alternative distinctive set of values
Stealing replaces hard work, vandalism replaces respect for authority, and intimidation and threats replace respect for others.
This gives working class youth opportunities to
achieve status in their peer group
which they are denied in the wider society. Cohen identifies
elements of revenge
in this subculture, to get back at the society that has denied them status and this means it is often
+Cohen's study is
useful for studying working class
+Cohen's study helps to
explain delinquency as a response
rather than being a focus on individuals, as the case with Merton's theory.
argues that working class subculture exists which means that the lower working class has always had its own independent norms, values and beliefs. This suggests that these young people
couldn't reject and react against mainstream goals
never held them
suggests that it may only apply to a
minority of offenders
who originally accepted mainstream values and then turn against them which means that this study
cannot be reliable
Cohen's theory is limited because it
only attempts to explain male delinquency
and says nothing about female offenders whose delinquency may have different causes, this means that this study is
not representative of both genders
Cloward & Ohlin:
Cloward and Ohlin argue that
doesn't allow for the
diversity of responses
found among working-class youth males who find the approved means for achieving society's goals blocked.
They suggest the
varied social circumstances
in which working-class youth live give rise to
three types of delinquent subcultures
as part of an
'illegitimate opportunity structure'.
This means that some members of the working class have
succeeding through illegal means
Cloward & Ohlin:
Three types of delinquent subcultures:
Thriving local criminal subculture, with
successful role models
. Young offenders can '
work their way up the status ladder'
in the criminal hierarchy. Young people are often attracted to a criminal career as they see examples of people from similar backgrounds as them who had become
successful career criminals
There is no local criminal subcultures to provide a career opportunity but
recruit young people
in the neighbourhood into their service. They often
engage in violence
with one another as a way to
This tends to occur where individuals have no opportunity or ability to engage in either of the other two subcultures or to achieve success in legitimate ways. They are
retreat into alcohol or drugs
, spending their time with others who have
dropped out of society
Cloward & Ohlin
young working class criminals
+Gives insight into why
working class delinquency
Exaggerate the differences between the 3 types of subculture
, there are overlaps such as utilitarian crime features in all 3 and criminal subcultures may involve drug dealing inside the retreatist subculture
They do not discus a
variety of social groups
in relation to crime, such as middle class, ethnic minorities etc.