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Sociology A2: Crime and Deviance lesson 5

The Functionalist Perspective

Amanda Lane

on 15 September 2013

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Transcript of Sociology A2: Crime and Deviance lesson 5

The Functionalist Perspective of Crime & Deviance
Lesson Objective:
To understand why crime and deviance is an inevitable and normal part of social life.
Why is crime inevitable?
Why would crime be looked at as normal?
According to Durkheim crime is necessary for a healthy society...
Not everyone is the same in terms of Norms, Value and Mores...
If everyone was the same, then the slightest abnormality would cause society to breakdown.
But why? Surely society would be a better place if we all behaved?
Why is crime necessary?
Crime is needed for social change to occur.. can you think of examples where crimes are no longer crimes and have caused a change in morality?
Key Terms:
Collective Conscience:
Social Control Mechanisms:

Shared values and moral beliefs in a society
The police and courts are necessary to maintain social order and not let deviance get out of hand.
A state of normlessness created when the rules of society do not serve their purpose.
So why do some people commit crime and others don't then?
Well according to Merton and his 'strain theory', crime and deviance is a product of social structures and processes. It is not due to individual biological or psychological aspects but rather that the individual is a product of society.
Crime and deviance is a social problem and not an individual one. Merton identified that the cause of criminal or deviant activity lies in the structures of society itself.
Merton identified that the reason for criminal, deviant behaviour is the inappropriate or inadequate means or opportunities to achieve 'social goals'.
What do you think 'social goals' are?
Inadequate and inappropriate opportunities cause some people to pursue social goals by other means...
What do you think these 'opportunities' are?
Another aspect of strain theory looks at how criminal behaviour is learnt within certain subcultures. This is known as 'Social Learning Theory'.
According to Merton, society determines our future and the institutions determine how we get there. Our social position also determines how easily we achieve our goals.
Merton devised a typology of responses to cultural & socially defined goals:
Conformism - those who accept culturally defined goals and the institutional means of obtaining them.
Innovation - Those who accept culturally defined goals but lack the institutional means to obtain them. They resort to innovative measures to attain goals.
Ritualism - Those who accept the culturally defined goals but know they cannot obtain them, but still persevere with institutional means.
Retreatism - Those who reject both culturally determined goals and the institutional means of obtaining them. They retreat from society but means of deviance ( for example: drug abuse)
Rebellion - Those who substitute their own goals and means of obtaining them with other means (for example - Hippie lifestyle)
Only really looks at working-class crime.
Disregards to notion that our cultural aspirations is directly descended from the ruling class elite.
Think back to last lesson.....
What FACTORS influence how we view crime?
Make a list of what you hope to achieve in 5 years time... 10 years... 20 years and 30 years.
HOW do you assume you will achieve these goals?
What factors might prevent you from achieving your goals?
How does Merton's strain theory link to crime?
How can it be used as a way of explaining how crime occurs?
How does it link to the general consensus of Functionalism?
What issues are there with this theory?

Apply knowledge in context.....
Full transcript