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Functionalists Views on Crime

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Functionalists on Crime
This group of sociologists argue that crime is useful and necessary and reinforces societies values and norms as people once a crime is committed JOIN TOGETHER in outrage
Cohen (functionalist)
This functionalist believed that some crimes maintain social order, he believed PROSTITUTION relieved tension without threatening social stability
Merton (functionalist)
He argued that because people have the goal of achieving the American dream . Those who fail at achieving success through education will instead seek to do it with crime
Status Frustration
Young people are often deprived of a strong status in society, and they may experience a sense of frustration. Their lack of responsibility may lead them to drift into delinquency
Taylor and Walton
They point out that not all subculture groups don't aspire to mainstream goals and they point to deviant groups like HIPPIES who don't share typical goals, this works against Merton
Cloward and Ohlin
They pointed there was a legitimate opportunity structure (passing exams, job) and a illegitimate opportunity structure (being in a gang). They argued the illegitimate structure was no more equal and doesn't always exist in some areas and this is why NOT ALL poor boys turns to crime
W B Miller
Argued working class CULTURE, he believed criminal values were passed down from generation to generation
Argued crime has four characteristics that it is inevitable, universal, relative and functional he believe crime strengthened the bonds between society
Conformity (Merton)
One of the ways people respond to American dream- by going to school gaining your qualifications and working your way up the career ladder
Innovation (Merton)
One of the ways people respond to American dream- These people accept society’s goals but reject the usual ways of achieving them. this can be illegal by creating a new way of dealing drugs or legally by creating a new tech company
Ritualism (Merton)
One of the ways people respond to American dream- When you reject cultural goals but still accept the institutionalized means of achieving them. e.g. you perform rituals or going to work but no longer seek out a promotion or pay rise
Retreatism (Merton)
One of the ways people respond to American dream- This when you give up of the american dream and turn to drugs and drink. They are not interested in making money or advancing in a particular career,
Rebellion (Merton)
One of the ways people respond to American dream- When you want to REPLACE the american dream. i.e. terrorists
Boundary Maintenance (Durkheim)
Term refers to when crime produces a reaction from society, uniting its members in condemnation of the wrongdoer and reinforcing their commitment to the shared norms and values.
Durkheim on punishment
He believes the purpose of punishment is to reaffirm society's rules. Rituals like courtrooms which dramatise wrongdoing and public outrage of crimes REAFFIRM OUR VALUES
Dramatisation of evil
Cohen's term created when he examined the important role that the media plays in coverage of crime and deviance and has noted how the often create 'folk devils", i.e Peter Sutcliffe 'Yorkshire ripper'
Too much Crime
Durkheim believes threatens to tear the bonds of society apart
Too little crime
Durkheim believes this means society is repressing and controlling and stiffing individual freedom and preventing change and society uniting. For Durkheim there's a perfect amount of crime
Safety Valve
Durkheim believes crime can release the stresses in society, for example mass riots is an outlet of expressions and it avoids more serious acts of crime
Warning Device
Durkheim believes crime like high rates of suicide and drug addiction can warn society of greater underlying social problems that need solving before more serious threats develop
Kingsley Davis
Agrees with Cohen and argues Prostitution acts a SAFETY VALVE for men to release their sexual frustrations without threatening the monogamous nuclear family.
Ned Posky
Argues pornography safely channels a variety of sexual desires away from alternatives such as adultery which would pose a greater threat to the nuclear family
Kai Erikson
Argues that if society, like Durkheim says, benefits from crime then maybe agencies like the police actual TRUE function is to SUSTAIN A CERTAIN LEVEL of crime rather than to rid society of it
Functionalist Criticism
Is that Functionalists forget that crime isn't functional for everyone, e.g. Punishment of a murder may unite society in outrage but it obviously isn't functional for the victims
Crime encourages isolation
This is an argument AGAINST functionalism, because crimes may lead to more people staying indoors and locking up do to fears of attacks or other crimes. Therefore it doesnt always bring SOCIETY TOGETHER like functionalists claim
Merton on Property Crime
Statistics show property crime is high, Merton theory COROSPONDS WELL with statistics as he explains this is because American society values material wealth so highly
Merton on Working Class crime
Statistics show poor people commit most crimes, Merton attributes this to because they have the least opportunity to obtain wealth legitimately
Merton and statistics
Critics argue Merton takes statistics at face value, and doesn't question them. Statistics over represent working classes and it's too deterministic to suggest that only poor people commit crime
Marxists on Merton
Marxists argue he ignores the power of the ruling class who may make laws that criminalise the rich but not the poor
Merton Obsessed with Money success
Critics argue that Merton assumes that everyone is driven by materials and wealth and ignores the possibility that others may have other goals
utilitarian crime
Term means crimes that surround money e.g. theft and robbery. This sort of crime is ALL that Merton focuses on however he doesn't consider crimes of violence, vandalism etc. it's also hard to see how his theory applies to STATE CRIMES like genocide or torture
Merton ignores group crime
As subcultural crtics point out Merton ignores this type of crime and just focuses on individual crimes, this isn't helpful when studying delinquent subcultures
Means when something or idea can be measured in a scientific manner. With Durkheim how do you measure if theres too much or little crime? His ideas are very theoretical and cant be measured