Assess the usefulness of functionalist approaches in explaining crime The functionalist approach to analysing deviance and the causes of crime looks at society as a whole. It explains crime that the source of criminal behaviour lies in the nature of society itself rather than in psychology or biology. Functionalists such as Durkheim see deviance as an inevitable and necessary part of society and too little is unhealthy. Some also consider crime to have positive aspects for society. In this essay we will assess the usefulness of these functionalist theories, and look at how it helps us explain crime.
The labelling theory consists of the fact that external people for example higher middle class or forms of authority, labels other members in society as being criminals or being deviant. The labelling theory works like this: a form of authority or even common people instinctively have a stereotype or put certain members of society into certain categories therefore labelling people as being criminals or having deviant behaviour and therefore this makes the members of society being labelled, commit to a self fulfilling prophecy whereby they end up acting out what they have been pre-judged as. Interpretivists accept this concept is highly useful and valid as it is qualitative. However, positivists believe it is low in reliability and usefulness as data is not numerical and cannot be compared, or even that there is no data at all. Being a criminal or deviant could be seen to be a social construct and therefore this may mean that you could question what criminal activity is and whether this social construct is even right since it has been constructed by members of the society.
Inevitable which is in modern society we have complex specialised divisions of labour which leads to individuals becoming less integrated and more individualistic. Universal is that crime exists everywhere, relative is that different crimes vary in society e.g in countries such as Dubai there laws are different to the U.K and lastly functional is that a limited amount of crime can benefit society e.g terrorism. Durkheims theory is useful as it still can be related to today’s society it also explains crime however doesn’t show a solution to crime. Durkeheim also argues that all social change begins with an act of deviance for example the suffragette movement broke the law in order to highlight gender inequalities along with Martin Luther King who had to break the law in order to fight for black rights. This is useful in today’s society as we still see wars in places like Gaza fighting for rights and change.
The results, of the crime control model are wrongful convictions, being over-turned and this is a major downfall in the criminal justice system. On the other hand the due process model is more concerned with the structure and the efficiency of the law. The due process focuses on evidences and facts in a case and ensures that a person in innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. In addition the due process model goal is the prevention and the elimination of crimes within the criminal justice
Comparing Functionalism and Marxism on Crime and Deviance This assignment will compare and contrast Functionalism and Marxism on crime and deviance. The functionalist view of crime is that it is a threat to social order. Someone who commits a crime or a deviant act has gone against the norms and values of society. Functionalist’s believe in the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate. Some people are socialised into crime, some functionalists, however such as Emile Durkheim see crime as being normal and an integral part of all healthy societies.
It does however explain why some people or actions are described as deviant, and can help in understanding crime and deviance. According to item A labelling has changed the theoretical base for the study of criminals. Becker emphasises the significance of crime being a social construct; an action only becomes criminal or deviant once society has labelled it so, and that crime can be argued to be a social construction. He introduced the concept of a master label, referring to the label which a person is given which overrides all other labels. When a person is labelled as negatively, society tends to tend them as such, and this master label often becomes internalised, and then a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs.
Assess the usefulness of subcultural theories in understanding crime and deviance Point | Explain | Research/Evidence | Challenge/Link | Intro: Subcultural strain theories see deviance as the product of a delinquent subculture w/different values from those of mainstream society | Delinquency subcultures are seen as a way for groups (l/w) to gain status they cannot achieve legitimately | They seek to build on and criticise Merton’s theory | However, they have been criticised for over focusing on lower class members and assuming everyone has the same goals | Albert Cohen criticises Merton who sees deviance as an individual response to strain – ignoring the fact much deviance is committed in or by groups – especially among the young | Hence why Cohen focuses on deviance among working-class boys. He argues they face anomie in M/C dominated school system | Status frustration: Suffer - Cultural deprivation + lack of skills to achieve in M/C world = bottom of status hierarchy Lack of status = ‘frustration’ Resolution = rejecting M/C values & joining/forming a subculture of others in same position = alternative status hierarchy – gain status through deviant behaviour (joy riding, vandalising, fighting and substance abuse) | Strength: Cohen offers an explanation of non-utilitarian deviance amongst W/C – unlike Merton (innovation – crime w/profit motive)Cohen ‘s ideas of status frustration and alternative status hierarchy help to explain non-economic delinquency such as vandalism, fighting and truancy Weakness: like Merton, Cohen assumes that W/C boys start off sharing M/C success goals – only to reject these when they fail. He ignores the possibility – they didn’t share these goals in the first place & so never saw themselves as failures | Like Cohen, Cloward & Ohlin take Merton’s ideas as their start point. They agree that W/C youths are
CMY3701 Assignment 1 Unique number: 722609 1. Discuss the contribution of Becker as an exponent of the labelling perspective. 1.1 Introduction The labelling perspective was developed by sociologist during the 1960’s and challenges our view of crime and criminal justice. Crime is a social process and it involves different perceptions of what is acceptable and what not within a society. The labelling theory see criminal behaviour as being defined by society, it therefore helps to explain why certain behaviour is considered to be negatively deviant to some people, groups and cultures however positively deviant to others.
Outline and Assess functionalists view of crime Functionalism is a consensus structuralism theory, which sees the source of crime and deviance located in the structure of society. Although crime and deviance might be stigmatised in society, some sociologists think it is important to have it occur and there are some benefits to it. This view is seen as the opposite to Marxism, a form of conservative ideology. Marxism sees crime within its general critique of capitalism and functionalists see the positive role crime may have within the social system. Internationalist’s have a similar view to Marxists as they believe in the labelling theory, so there is no such thing as a deviant act, but social institutions create them.
“It is a person’s environment that leads them into criminal and deviant behaviour.” This essay will firstly define deviance and crime in sociological terms. It will explore how deviance and crime are defined and who defines them as such. Considering the moral and legal aspects of deviance and crime. Secondly this essay will consider some of the many ideas and perspectives around the reason for and the continuation of crime and deviance in society. As a conclusion this essay will take into consideration whether the perspectives outlined are external or internal in their description of reasons for crime and deviance and try and determine the relevance of the arguments.