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

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Introduction

'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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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