Durkheim's functionalist theory (Inevitability of Crime (Why crime…
Durkheim's functionalist theory
Society based on value consensus, members of society as sharing a common culture
Culture is a set of shared norms, values, beliefs and goals. Sharing the same culture produces social solidarity- binds individuals, telling them what to strive for how to conduct themselves.
Instils shared culture into its members. Helps internalise the same norms and values, feel right to act in ways society requires.
Mechanics include rewards for conformity and punishments for deviance. These helps to ensure that individuals behave in the way society expects.
Inevitability of Crime
Although functionalists see too much crime as destabilising society. Also see crime as inevitable and universal. Every known society has come level of crime.
Why crime and deviance is found in all societies.
Not everyone is equally socialised into shared norms and values, some individuals prone to deviance.
In complex modern societies, there is a diversity of lifestyles and values. Different groups develop their own subcultures with distinctive norms and values, and what members of subcultures regard as normal mainstream
Durkheim's view, modern societies tend towards anomie or normlessness- the rules governing behaviour become weaker and less clear-cut.
Due to modern societies have a complex, specialised division of labour, which leads to individuals becoming increasingly different from one another
Positive functions of crime
Crime produces a reaction from society from society, uniting its members condemnation of the wrongdoer and reinforcing commitment to shared norms and values
Explains function of punishment. Purpose of punishment is to reaffirm society's shared rules and reinforce social solidarity
Done through rituals of the courtroom which dramatise wrongdoing and publicly shame and stigmatise the offender. Reaffirms values of law-abiding majority and discourages others from rule breaking.
Stanley Cohen- Role played by the media in this dramatization of evil. In his view media creates 'folk devils'
Adaptation and change
All change starts with an act of deviance. Individuals with new ideas, values and ways of living must not be stifled by the weight of social control
Some scope for them to challenge and change existing norms and value, the first instance this will inevitably appear as deviance.
Authorities often persecute religious visionaries who espouse a new 'message' or value-system. Values may give rise to a new culture and morality.
If those new ideas are suppressed, society will stagnate and be unable to make necessary adaptive changes.