Functionalist Crime and Deviance Essay

1398 WordsOct 8, 20156 Pages
Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of functionalist approaches in explaining crime. (21 marks) “Crimes are those actions deemed so disturbing to citizens of disruptive to society as to justify state intervention.” Pease (2002). Crime is any act which breaks the laws of society. For example, murder or rape. Deviance, on the other hand, is behaviour which moves away from conventional norms and values such as burping and farting in public. If what is considered to be crime and deviance changes, it can’t be inherently wrong but must be culturally specific. Emile Durkheim speaks of crime as being functional to society. According to item A, ‘the publicity given to crime highlights the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.' Durkheim expands on this saying we are aware of these boundaries following social reactions to deviance. This is a strength to Durkheim's theory as people are able to know the boundaries in their shared norms and values, possibly limiting crime. However, it doesn’t explain why some people commit crimes and others do not. He also speaks of how crime creates social integration as it bonds people together against criminals. Like the item says, 'functionalist sociologists focus on how far individuals accept the norms and values of society.' Durkheim blames people not being fully integrated into society’s norms and values as to why they commit crime. So he said once people have served their time for their crime, they should be reintegrated. It’s a strength that Durkheim suggests them being reintegrated as it means they’re less likely to reoffend if they feel they belong to their society and do not look for status through crime. However, interactionists would say that agents of social control cause crime, not the society you are in. So whether you are integrated or not should not matter in their opinion. Durkheim also speaks of
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