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

Critically evaluate Functionalist approaches to crime and deviance - Illustrate your answer with reference to the sub-cultural explanations of juvenile delinquency.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Critically evaluate Functionalist approaches to crime and deviance. Illustrate your answer with reference to the sub-cultural explanations of juvenile delinquency. Functionalism sees the various parts of society to be interrelated, and together they form a complete system. To understand any part of a society, the parts must be seen in relation to society as a whole. Functionalists see behaviour in society to be structured. This means that relationships between members of society are organised in terms of rules. Society is based upon a value consensus that provides guidelines for behaviour that are translated into more specific directives in terms of roles and norms. They see society as having a need for functional pre requisites that need to be met in order for the society to survive. Functionalists look at all societies and say in every, past or present, deviance has always been present. This deviance isn't of interest to sociologists, therefore doesn't have to be sociologically explained. Durkheim argued that crime is an inevitable and normal aspect of social life. This is due to the fact that not every member of society can be equally committed to the collective sentiments, since people are exposed to different influences. Therefore it is impossible to be alike. ...read more.

Middle

Juvenile delinquency became apparent in the 1950's where a range of acts started to appears like truancy and vandalism to joyriding, gang fighting and drug taking. These sorts of crimes are associated with young people known as "youth culture." Merton said that these sorts of crimes happened because these people felt like losers, however this wasn't the case, since delinquency was carried out for the fun of it; to show off in front of their friends. Albert Cohen, a structural functionalist conducted an observation study on teddy boys. He found out that working class males were the ones who carried out the delinquent acts and that it was a youth phenomenon. He does agree with Merton that they are innovators, who grew up with the American dream and are "losers." But the problem with Merton is that he says that individuals feel dislocated and then deviate, but they don't do this individually according to Cohen but "collectively"- in a subculture. Deviance isn't an individual response, but a group thing that experience anomie and frustration. Merton also said that they're innovators, but they aren't really, since they aren't making money and neither are the retreatists- it doesn't explain non-instrumental crimes that is done for a laugh. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lastly they like to let themselves go in that they like to gamble and do such things that the middle class wouldn't do. It was seen by miller that working class children act out these focal concerns in an exaggerate manner and at the inappropriate times. To him, he saw the reason for this not to be down to status frustration but status integrity. Because of extended schooling, identities became less centred and there became a need to build an identity, and all of these focal concerns lead to dysfunctional delinquency. However this can all be criticised using the Marxists critique they say that mainstream culture reflects the culture of the ruling class, which is imposed on us, and is designed to socialise us into this culture so exploitation can be facilitated and at the same time rendering exploitation invisible. They do not see delinquency as dysfunctional but endemic, and that is a logical ongoing consequence of capitalism. They reject the concept of cultural deprivation and say that the culture of the working class is a logical consequence due to their relationship to the forces of production. In conclusion, it can be seen that functionalists see crime and deviance as a functional phenomena a low level. That it enhances social integration for the maintenance of society. However, they see larger crimes as dysfunctional whereby people have not been adequately socialised into the social structure. Rozina Shafi February 2003 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Critically evaluate the various sociological theories of crime and deviance including: Functionalist, Marxist, Labelling ...

    "Delinquents have withdrawn their support from established norms and have invested officially forbidden norms of conduct with a claim to legitimacy in the light of their special situation" [Cloward and Ohlin, 1960] Members of subcultures reject conventional values, they do not succeed in school or college, but they are good at things that their subculture values.

  2. Assess the usefulness of subcultural theories in understanding crime and deviance

    In such areas a learning environment' is provided for the young: they are exposed to criminal skills and deviant values, and presented with criminal role models. Those who perform successfully in terms of these deviant values have the opportunity to rise in the professional criminal hierarchy.

  1. Is Delinquency a major factor in youth culture, what theory best explains delinquency?

    But what ethnical qualities that are shown in delinquency it is suggested that racism on the police's behalf and the criminilization of the black community do play quite a large role in contributing to it. With the issue of class contributing to delinquency there have been quite a few issues

  2. Inventing Reality: Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

    time he has to hit the pawnbroker numerous times, since "she did not stir under his blows, as though she were made of wood" (277). Hence, Raskolnikov has not escaped the fear that created his ideas in the first place: he is scared of being impotent, of having to rely

  1. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    This had the effect of devaluing the African native culture, and soon Africans themselves, upon sufficient re-socialisation, began to reject their native culture, thus commencing the internalisation of European values. Pryce stated that "in Jamaica, the closer symbols, mannerisms, appearances and institutions approximate and conform to British standards, the higher their value and prestige".

  2. The Effects of Juvenile Delinquency on Modern Society.

    One of these 'frightening facts' that the media often regurgitate in order to prove how scared we should be of our children is the alcohol consumption statistics conducted by the government. From the results of the batch survey the newspapers claimed that since half of all male juveniles (50%)

  1. Sociological explanations of crime and deviance

    Feminists believe that all women are controlled by men in some way or another. Women are likely to be defined as deviant when they engage in behaviour which is regarded as a rejection of their roles in society. Generally, functionalists suggest that crime arises from a weakening of the social cohesion that binds society together.

  2. Critically evaluate Marxist approaches to crime and deviance.

    However, it can be seen that crime still exists in communist societies; therefore crime cannot simply be seen as a tool of the ruling class. According to Bonger, only certain people commit crimes, i.e. the working class, however the rich also commit crimes.

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