Asses The Usefulness Of Functionalist Approaches To Our Sociological Understanding Of Crime And Deviance

2402 words, 10 pages

Intro Sample...

‘Asses the usefulness of functionalist approaches to our sociological understanding of crime and deviance’ (21 Marks)
This essay will look at how functionalist have made it clearer and easier for us to understand the reasons crime and deviance is needed for society and will also look at different theories and their usefulness.

Durkheim looks at how crime and deviance is inevitable and needed in society as it performs two important positive functions: boundary maintenance and adaptation and change, he says that boundary maintenance is when society reacts to crime and there is social cohesion, and this leads to society condemning the criminal and the punishment given by the social agencies is a way of... View More »

Body Sample...

He also talks about five different adaptations of deviant behaviour. Conformity is when they follow the rules to achieve their goals. Innovation accepts the goals of money success but use illegally ways of achieving it. Ritualism gives up their goals but keeps following the means. Retreatism refers to those who give up their goals and means make do with what they have. Finally, Rebellion who are fight and reject the goals and means of achieving them, they rebel in hope to bring in new goals and a better society.

Marxists argue that Merton ignores the power of the ruling class who make the rules and who are able to change the punishment depending on the person crime, and the capitalist structure is so to criminalise the poor and keep them rich. Merton sees crime has been only convicted by working class which is not true as Marxists say that middle class also commit crime this is hidden as media do not know of it compared to working class crime which is portrayed in media very often. Merton believes there is a value consensus like Durkheim and that they committee deviant behaviour for monetary gain and he does not look at the many reasons why they are deviant like vandalism, torture etc. He only focuses on individual deviant behaviour and ignores group and subcultures deviant behaviour such as delinquent subcultures which is touched on by Matza and Cohen. Cohen criticises Merton on his explanation of deviance in terms of strain while Merton says it is an individual response but Merton says that deviance is mainly committed by groups mainly by youths.

Cohen agrees ...

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