• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that crime is functional, inevitable and normal.

Extracts from this document...


'Asses the view that crime is functional, inevitable and normal' Crime is acts that will elicit dissent from society. They take various forms and involve various concepts and competing theories. In everyday language to commit crime means to stray from an accepted path. Many sociological definitions of crime simply elaborate upon this idea. Thus crime consists of those areas which do not follow the norms and expectations of a particular social group. Emile Durkheim a functionalist sociologist studied crime and deviance. He concluded that crime is necessary to understand how society functions. Durkheim saw both a functional inevitable side of crime that has positive effects on society. As well as a negative side that can lead to social disruption. In his works; 'The Rules of Sociological Method' and 'The Division of Labour', he argued that crime is "an integral part of all healthy societies". He reasoned that crime is not only inevitable, but also functional for society and that they will only be considered dysfunctional when they reach abnormally high or low levels. The conclusion of Durkheim's argument is that contrary to the conventional view that crime is a social pathology that must be eradicated, it is a normal and inescapable phenomenon which can play a useful part in facilitating social progress. ...read more.


This synthesises with the idea created by Durkheim that when the collective conscience of a society is destroyed then crime becomes inevitable a state of anomie. This idea of crime being inevitable when the collective conscience of society is broken is supported by the work of Dennis. He developed the concept of the moral fabric of society. He suggested that the break down in marriage and the changing role of women in the family led to the marginalisation of the father. He also believes that there has been a decrease in the moral condemnation shown towards men who leave their families. So, young males do not have sufficient role models upon which to base their behaviour and do not face the discipline at home that a father might provide. Dennis argues that this crisis in the family weakens the moral fabric and demonstrates that values and commitment are not fixed but flexible. However, if crime is normal and inevitable, why is it that more people do not commit crime? Hirschi constructed the 'bonds of attachment' to understand what forces maintain conformity for most people in society. First, he refers to the attachment to which a person cares about other people's desires. Second, commitment or investment a person puts into their lives and what they would lose if they turned to crime. ...read more.


To summarize, Merton claims that his analysis shows how the culture and structure of society generates deviance. To conclude, societies have to have rules and rules are broken therefore deviance is normal. Even Marxist sociologists see crime as a normal part of society in its indication of class conflict. It is inevitable because not every member of society can be equally committed to the 'collective sentiments, the shared values and beliefs of society. Since individuals are exposed to different influences and circumstances, it is impossible for all to be alike. Therefore, not everybody shares the same restraints about breaking the law. Changing dynamics of both the family and society as a whole have made criminal activity an inevitable part of life. Durkheim saw crime as normal in terms of its occurrence, and even as having positive social functions in terms of its consequences. Crime was normal in that no society could enforce total conformity to its injunctions. Deviance from the norms of society is necessary if society is to remain flexible and open to change and new adaptations. "Where crime exists, collective sentiments are sufficiently flexible to take on a new form, and crime sometimes helps to determine the form they will take". Crime is a functional, inevitable and normal aspect of social life; therefore there must be some reason for its persistence. It is an integral part of all healthy societies. ?? ?? ?? ?? Francesca Cifaldi ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    meanings attributed to these actions, including deviant behaviour, must be understood in social, not individualised, frameworks. DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION THEORY Thomas's work (The Chicago School) laid the foundation for a classic theory of deviance: differential association theory. Differential association theory interprets deviance, including criminal behaviour and white-collar crime, as behaviour one learns through interaction with others.

  2. Assess the right realist view that crime is the result of biological rational factors ...

    with 90% or crimes reported to the police, however only 40% is recorded. The theorists believe that they need a multi agency approach such as the police, public, housing, social services, schools and victim support. If all these agencies work in cohesion then this will help reduce the crime.

  1. Assess the view that crime is functional, inevitable and normal

    The third and final positive aspect which he identified was social cohesion. This refers to when a particularly horrific or violent crime is committed. The public unite in a shared outcry against the criminals' actions and this strengthens the familiarity within the group.

  2. Suggest how crime and deviance can be seen as functional for society.

    Through agencies like the mass media and the Courts (when conducting public hearings), criminal behaviour would be publicised. The publicising of these acts functions to make the public aware of the tolerance of society, and also reinforces the society's opinion of such criminal behaviour.

  1. Marxism is a structural theory, as people's actions are shaped by society and in ...

    breaking health and safety regulations. An example of this is Chambliss's study of crime networks in Seattle USA. He argued that the forces behind organised crime in America are leading members of the ruling group. His evidence is based on several years' participant observation in Seattle.

  2. Outline and Assess Subcultural Theories of Crime and Deviance

    This explanation of criminal deviance is useful and, alongside Hobbs' work, shows that for some people crime can be a career choice. But the approach is not completely correct, it shares similar weaknesses to Merton's Strain Theory. One criticism which is shared with Merton, is the categorisation of individuals; there

  1. What have theories of deviance added to our understanding of crime? Why are there ...

    the real world is widely variable, since the influence of ideas related to deviance changes "from state to state, administration to administration, government department to government department..." as Manning (1975) puts it. What a society sees as normal alters what they see to be deviant behaviour.

  2. Assess the view that crime and deviance is the result of labelling, the media ...

    It also shows that the law is often enforced in discriminatory ways, and that crime statistics just shows us the activities of control agents than of the criminals. And it shows that society?s attempts to control deviance can backfire and create more deviance instead of reducing it.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work