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Functionalist analysis of crime and deviance

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Functionalist analysis of crime and deviance begins with society as a whole. It looks for the source of deviance in the nature of society rather than in the biological or psychological nature of the individual. Some functionalists argue although it seems strange, deviance is a necessary part off all societies and that it performs positive functions for the social system. Durkheim argued that it only becomes dysfunctional (harmful to society) when its rate is unusually high or low. He argued that all social change begins with some form of deviance. In order for change to occur, yesterday's deviance must become today's normality. ...read more.


However since members of society are placed in different positions in social structure they do not have the same opportunity of realising the shared values. Merton outlines five possible ways in which members of American society can respond to success goals. The first and most common is conformity. They strive for success by means of accepted channels. A second response is innovation. This response rejects normative means of achieving success and turns to deviant means. Merton uses the term ritualism to describe the third possible response. They have largely abandoned the commonly held goals of success. Merton terms the fourth and least common response as retreatism, they have strongly internalised both the cultural goals and the institutional means yet they are unable to achieve success. ...read more.


Involvement a person's level of activity or business interest. Belief a persons conviction that they should obey the rules of society. Hirschi also came up with five factors that weaken social binds this are secrecy the chances a person has of hiding deviant acts. Skill to commit crime. Supply the availability of the necessary equipment. Social support this is linked to subcultures and symbolic support mean that if there is powerful symbolic support for rule breaking it is likely to occur. Hirschi can be criticised as his concept to used, such as attachment are not tightly defined. ?? ?? ?? ?? Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of crime and deviance. ...read more.

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