Evaluate Functionalists ideas of Crime and Deviance (45)
Crime refers to any act which goes against the written rules, laws, of society. It results in a formal negative sanction. For example, speeding will result in a punishment such as a fine. However, deviance refers to an act which goes against the unwritten rules, norms and values, of society. It results in an informal negative sanction. For example, someone with their whole body covered in tattoos may receive odd looks because of their image. Functionalists view society as a collective consensus, they argue that within a culture we all share the same norms and values. They see crime as inevitable, as a healthy part of society that will occur regardless.
Durkheim was a famous French sociologist. He saw society as a collective consensus, and humans as ‘homo duplex’, arguing that people have both a social side and an individual side. The individual side emerges when social bonds are weak, resulting in the person committing an act of deviance or crime. Durkheim also came up with the term anomie, a sense of normlessness within society. This is when there is a disagreement on the norms and values. He also argued that crime is inevitable, and it would happen within society regardless. Durkheim also argued that crime was on one hand necessary and functional for society, but then went on to say that is was also harmful and dysfunctional. He argued that a certain amount of crime is good for society, and that it can bring a community together in order for them to agree on what is right and wrong, and also initiate change. For example, protesting will lead to attention upon that certain topic, and potentially change. Crime can also provide people with work, and purpose.