Functionalist Look At Society As A Whole Criminology Essay

Emile Durkheim, the creator of functionalism argued that a certain amount of crime in virtually any society is inescapable. Durkheim thought that it was 'an crucial part of most healthy societies'. Durkheim thought this because not everyone gets the same collective beliefs and moral beliefs in culture. Durkheim also assumed that crime and deviance could maintain positivity in contemporary society as this assists strengthen the ideas of right and wrong.

The problem with deviance develops when the level of crime becomes too big, this then can threaten the balance of a society. Durkheim thought that deviance acted as a catalyst for sociable change, change can happen nevertheless, you need change the notion, what we should once thought was a deviant action is now appropriate. This is one way a society can evolve, which Durkheim regarded as healthy. Durkheim also thought that if criminal offenses was too low in a culture it was bad, this is because such societies continued to be static and their cultural attitudes remained unchallenged.

Anomie was a concept devised by Durkheim; Merton further developed this. Durkheim's idea of anomie described how societies considering cultural change also experience some dilemma over the actual world considered right or incorrect behaviour. The bafflement should not be viewed as negative, as new ideas are paramount for a population because they are considered the life-blood. (socialscience, 2012)

There are positive functions to criminal offenses as offense can reaffirm boundaries as when offences are devoted, they are normally publicised. This then confirms our shared values for world for example; we learn the correct behaviour by seeing the inappropriate behaviour punished.

Tragedy or damage can also help to bring societies alongside one another it can help mend interpersonal or ethnical divisions, and help strengthen our sense of belonging locally. Cohen a dominant American criminologist assumed that deviance acted as a security valve for modern culture, Cohen thought that releasing small amounts of anger and pressure avoided the build-up of better frustrations. This then might lead to major problems in culture. Cohen also assumed that deviant serves could help to alert modern culture that certain areas of it aren't working properly.

Another positive aspect to offense is social progression, this happens when the folks of today challenge the norms and principles of society as they would like to help build a much better future, therefore todays deviants could be tomorrows innovators.

Here is an exemplory case of how crime can change population, March 2012, when gay 24-year-old man called Daniel Zamudio was beaten so significantly, this was after having swastikas carved into his pores and skin that he perished in medical center three weeks later. The brutal murder stunned Chileans and spurred the Chilean government to fast-track LGBT antidiscrimination legislation. (advocate, 2013)

Crime and deviance can also create employment, if there is no deviant behaviour we'd have no authorities, courts or prisons, therefore Durkheim was appropriate is convinced that crime has a confident factor on modern culture.

Some of Durkheim's ideas do have a poor function to crime and deviance, especially as functionalists believe society is dependant on the worthiness consensus. In certain situations e. g. major public upheaval, the public norms and worth can become puzzled. That is when people aren't sure about how to behave or what things to believe that, this happens when people are freed from cultural control, become selfish and only look after their own hobbies. When anomie occurs, the offense rates soar.

Downes & Rock and roll (1998) thought functionalists who refer to Durkheim's work didn't consider the impact that criminal offense and deviance got on contemporary society, especially the victims of offense. They also thought that criminal offense maybe functional but at what cost.

Robert K Merton was also motivated by Durkheim's theory of anomie; Merton applied his theory to American society in the 1930's. Merton attempted to explain why young working class men were most prominent in the crime statistics. This is where Merton developed any risk of strain theory (also called Mertonian Anomie). Merton suggested that culture, especially the United States of America was saturated with dreams of opportunity, freedom and success or as Merton detailed it the American Dream. A lot of people bought into this wish and it became an extremely powerful cultural and psychological inspiration.

Merton discovered five possible replies to his strain theory conformity, development, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion. Therefore, as many people responded to strain through advancement or rebellion, the nature of American desire actually created criminal offenses and deviance. Although Merton's justification of the strain theory right answers some questions to offense, it does not answer them all like crimes that aren't for personal game e. g. vandalism.

Merton's description on anomie was different to Durkheim's. Merton thought that anomie meant dichotomy (a section) between what culture expected of its residents and what those residents could achieve. In case the social structure of opportunities is unequal, this will prevent the majority from realising the fantasy, this then means that a few of them will choose crime in order to realize it.

Travis Hirschi (1969) realised that most sociological theories tried to explain why people committed crime; Hirschi chosen that he'd check out why almost all of population do not commit crime. His theory was called the communal bond theory, which later developed into the interpersonal control theory. This theory historically has been an interesting way in getting close social problems and exactly how they are discussed, the social bond theory emphasises on the actual fact that there surely is an absence of social parts among juvenile delinquents. Hirschi thought that Perhaps one of the most critical times in our lives is adolescence, in this critical time we need strong positive cultural ties. Alternatively, if the ties we talk about inside our lives are negative and criminal-like it is most likely that negative results will occur.

Hirschi believed there have been four basic elements to the public bond theory these are attachment, commitment, participation and belief. Attachment is described as the amount of prices and or norms that an individual contains in society. Determination the personal opportunities we have inside our lives, involvement the amount of free time we've and belief our dedication to the guidelines and goals of your society, Hirschi thought the greater our bonds of attachment the lower the level of crime.

In bottom line, functionalist accept the official statistics with no question, therefore functionalist see crimes are committed by the working course, plus they have ignored commercial or white scruff of the neck crime. In addition they do not take into consideration the thoughts or thoughts of deviants, they expect that all working school people react to society just as and everyone shares a similar social goals. (criminology, 2012)

Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism noticed criminal offenses and deviance as the ruling class (bourgeoisie) keeping cultural control over the working school (proletariat) if you did not conform you would be punished. Marx presumed that Institutions including the law enforcement, the justice system, prisons and institutions are there to encourage that you conform. Marxists claim that white-collar crimes, which have a tendency to be devoted by the bourgeoisie are disregarded, while crimes devoted by the proletariat such as burglary and street crime have emerged as more serious. Marxists also argued that different sociable classes are policed in a different way, with the working class greatly policed in the expectation that they will be more unlawful.

Marxists such as Milton Mankoff, Frank Pearce and Laureen Snider see electricity as mainly being presented by the bourgeoisie who own the method of production. Marxists imagine the laws reveal the pursuits of the bourgeoisie. These are then passed by a bourgeois parliament, then enforced by the authorities and recognized by right-wing sections of an extremely powerful press. Marxists also claim that criminal offenses is widespread in every sociable strata, Snider (1993) said, "some of the most serious anti-social and predatory works dedicated in modern commercial countries are corporate and business crimes". Snider also said "corporate criminal offenses does more damage than the road crimes, such as burglary, robbery and murder" that are usually seen as the most serious types of criminal offense. (historylearningsite, 2012)

The corporate criminal offenses Snider described included examples such as the Zeebruge ferry catastrophe and the Hatfield train crash, the enquiries discovered that the companies had put revenue before safety. In the UK, the criminal offenses of 'corporate and business manslaughter' was created. This was for such situations with boards of directors being put in the firing range if similar tragedies occurred again.

David Gordon (1976) explained that the principles of capitalism motivated crime in all of the communal classes, the disappointment of being on the bottom rung of the ladder motivates crimes like violence, love-making and drugs and vandalism.

Does capitalism cause criminal offense? Possibly not, because crime is still present in communist societies, and some capitalist countries like Switzerland have a very low crime rate. Additionally it is very unlikely that working category crime could possibly be the cause of resistance and rebellion, the majority of the victims of working category crime are actually working class themselves.

Other areas of this discussion could be that some would say the working category crooks are making excuses for the behaviour, by demonstrating a Robin Hood kind of example. It's very unlikely that regulations favours the bourgeoisie, as there are some laws and regulations that favour the proletariats for example welfare laws and regulations.

Pierce (1976) experienced views on corporate offense, he said, "Prosecutions for corporate and business crime are exceptional - otherwise, culture would have to rethink its view that criminal offense is an operating class pursuit, which would create an emergency for the ruling classes". In addition, are illegitimate and immoral practices normal under capitalism? A number of the lowest paid careers with the most appalling working conditions are under communist regimes. (moodle, 2013)

Internationalism is the next major sociological point of view after functionalism. Internationalism considers three things Phenomenology, Symbolic Connection and Ethnomethodology. Interactionists focus on the way that folks act rather than react to social arousal, and how different social groups interpret the behaviour of others is significant, as this helps to understand what sort of world is socially produced. An example of social structure would be, think about you are relaxing at a couple of traffic lights, an automobile drives straight through the red lighting. You could interpret that behavior as wrong and outlawed. However under the same circumstances, if the automobile experienced the red light with blue blinking signals and a siren you could consider that as understandable.

Howard Becker (1973) said, "Social organizations create deviance by causing the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and through the use of those guidelines to particular people and labelling them as outsiders. . . the deviant is someone to whom that label has efficiently been applied. " Labelling is a communal judgement and is dependant on social reaction, the labels that we give people can identify their future, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sadly the people that we label may become cultural outsiders. Therefore, labelling can be considered as social made.

Becker developed his theory of labelling in 1963 in a e book called the outsiders, Becker examined the theory throughout a period of sociable and political electric power at a college or university campus. Becker adjusted Lemert's labelling theory and its symbolic interaction qualifications during this liberal movement. (moodle, 2013)

Becker's labelling theory possessed five phases, the first stage was where a person was labelled as deviant, and the second stage is where in fact the deviant is then rejected by their family, friends and employers. Next, because the average person has been turned down they return to the deviant behaviour, this is the start of their criminal profession. Fourth the individual then searches for social acceptance, this normally will be by the deviant group, and fifth a deviant subculture evolves.

Becker's reserve Outsiders (1963) used two circumstances to illustrate his approach to the labelling theory. Becker analyzed marijuana laws in america, and the recreational use of the medication. Becker experienced chosen to analyse cannabis because the progression of use could be viewed. The very first time user of cannabis finds the knowledge as somewhat upsetting, but as the user imitates peers he/she learns to perceive the consequences of pot as enjoyable.

Becker found that if someone breaks the rules not absolutely all of culture would find the function deviant, someone needs to enforce or get attention to the guidelines. Only when a person has been efficiently been labelled do certain consequences follow, and the average person might take the label as a expert status.

Jock Young (1971) also have a study on marijuana, but this time the study is at Notting Hill, London. Young found that most marijuana users called it a 'peripheral activity'. Young also discovered that once the stigma of the label had been made, the deviant behavior and use of weed increased, the users then began to lose their careers and public network. As this took place the users became more dependent on marijuana plus some used it as a income source, Young realised that labelling contributes to the increase of deviant behavior.

There are problems with labelling, as this assumes that deviants are normal people until they have been given a label. Liazos (1972) said, "that the labelling theory is a report of nuts, sluts and perverts". The labelling theory does criticises the groupings that come up with the labels, it also fails to go through the benefits communities get from being labelled, it also doesn't make clear where most important deviance (the initial act) comes from.

Stan Cohen (1964) researched the social reaction - especially in the mass media towards the clashes between your mods and rockers culture. Cohen actually observed the clashes on Brighton beach, he realised that the mass media were reporting things that actually had not happened. Because of this this brought on moral worry, the mods and rockers were being singled out and being called folk devils, as a result population thought their behavior was a danger to the sociable order.

How everyone in modern culture reacts to activities and behavior and the judgements we make donate to the social development of criminal offense, the media can be an area in society that visually plays a part in constructing criminal offense and deviance, Internationalists might dispute that law enforcement officials are another such group in modern culture. Police information are the main manner in which the police can socially construct offense, there are other ways in which criminal offenses can be socially produced, which could be by changing legislation, interpretation or moral prices. (moodle, 2013)

Since the early 1980's a number of sociologists have developed a point of view on offense and deviance normally, this is known as Still left Realism. The supporters of this perspective are Jock Young, John Lea, Roger Matthews and Richard Kinsey. Remaining realism originated in Britain, but has began to influence other criminologists far away. Left realists believe that longer sentences and even more prisons will be the answer to criminal offenses, nonetheless they also oppose the views from left idealists, people like Marxists, Neo-Marxists and radical Feminists.

Politically, still left realists tend to see their strategy as being close to the positioning of the English Labour Party, Lea and Young (1984) identify themselves as socialists and support the reform of world. One of the views of the left realist is that crimes other than white-collar crimes are a serious problem; Jock Young (1993) argues there's been a significant upsurge in street crime. Young thought criminology acquired been through an aetiological crisis (problems of reason), resulting from the increase in officially recorded street crime.

Lea and Young (1984) remarked that the chances of being the sufferer of street crime are little; however, some communities face an increased risk. It isn't the wealthy who will be the focuses on of muggers or thieves, however the poor. Still left realists have carried out a great deal of victimization studies, analyzing such issues as the scope of crime and attitudes towards offense. Lea and Young began to develop a procedure for detailing criminality. They saw criminal offense as rooted in public conditions and claim that offense is closely linked to deprivation. However, they reject those views that suggest factors such as poverty and unemployment can be seen as directly accountable for crime, they performed accept that the problem travelled beyond poverty. (historylearningsite, 2012)

The values of any criminal are not too not the same as capitalist principles: these are competitive, greedy and selfish. In addition, it isn't poverty and deprivation that are important, or in the manner that it's perceived, it is how people react to it. Kept realist developed the square of offense; they thought that to take on crime four elements needed to be dealt with the state of hawaii, the offender, population and the victim. Left realists assumed that the only way you may reduce criminal offense was to lessen inequality, improve community facilities and build the partnership between the authorities and the city. Although the remaining realists have the rectangular theory, they have a tendency to concentrate more on the victims of crime. It's very difficult to use the concept of comparative deprivation to describe crimes like rape and assault, plus they still do not clarify corporate crime.

Two key features to left realism are they emphasise on the social causes of offense, and they are concerned with the effect of criminal offenses on individuals and communities. Kept realists do have long-term goals; they would like changes in the interpersonal structure and promote interpersonal justice and remove the reduced amount of inequality.

Right realists believe and have a more realistic view on the causes of crime and deviance, right realists assume that crime and deviance are a real social problem that requires practical solutions. It is stated that right realists devised moral stress as a way of swaying the general public to trust their views, e. g. the press claims seniors are scared of being attacked when they leave the safeness of their house, but in truth offences against OAP's are little. Right realists believe official statistics often underreport crime. However, they believe they are able to paint a far more realistic picture of crime and deviance in the UK. They also believe that crime is a growing social problem and is basically committed by lower working class males and juveniles, who tend to be black, and reside in interior city areas.

Marsland (1988) explained that criminal offenses and deviancy is linked to the malfunction in the moral cloth of society. Colleges and religion have become less effective in communal control and the moral glue of world has truly gone. Marsland believes that this has led to a decline in morality and as a result, criminal offense has increased. Right realists do not assume that poverty causes criminal offense, in the 1960's an affluent time in the united kingdom the criminal offense rate grew faster than other time that century.

Murray's (1994) theory stated that the welfare express was one factor in criminal behavior, the challenge was that it do encourage dependency and a lack of motivation that seemed to be handed down the generations. Murray said the welfare express "saps moral fibre, erodes Christian ethics and threatens family principles". Marsland (1992) arranged and said, "The nanny point out removes individual choice and wish to work". (historylearningsite, 2012)

Right realists have blamed a decline according for expert, and the go up of fatherless households where young men are denied an appropriate role model, plus a decline in family beliefs with having less discipline both inside and outside the house. Right realists also believe you have a decision and you do not need to be deviant, Wilson and Kelling (1982) devised the cracked window theory, they believed that if just one window is cracked and is not restored that soon other windows in the house will become shattered. They also believed that a tolerance in criminal offenses is the downfall of the city. A solution to this would be to have a zero tolerance on any deviant behaviour or criminal offense, with harsher sentences and a great deal closer surveillance.

The right realist procedure has some flaws, it ignores white-collar offense, they place a lot of possession on the sufferer, and they neglect that criminal offense can be a result of thoughts, rather than calculations. Finally right realists have confidence in Situational Crime Reduction, a crime avoidance strategy that talks about offences and then by building and manipulating the surroundings in a way that escalates the risk to the offender, whilst reducing the offender's reward for committing the criminal offense, making the offender stop and want to see if the prize outweighs the chance. (moodle, 2012)

Left and right realists do show some common values on criminal offenses, they accept the truth of situations and the problems in trying to promote solutions. Left realists think we live in charge of ourselves, where the right realists think many people are responsible for every other. They also agree that the authorities can only do this much and that the community and people should use the authorities to keep crime under control, Left realists and their communal deprivation theory and right realists and the choice of the average person. If both edges worked alongside one another and everyone required a dynamic part in seeking to reduce criminal offense and not just the police then it might work, the opportunities for an individual to commit a offense would drastically be reduced as a result, we would reside in a safer and a more enriched modern culture.


Advocate, (2013) twelve offences that altered the LGBT world [online]. Available from: http://www. advocate. com/arts-entertainment/advocate-45/2012/05/07/12-crimes-changed-lgbt-world-0 [Accessed 16th January 2013].

Criminology, (2012) cultural theory [online]. Available from: http://www. criminology. fsu. edu/crimtheory/hirschi. htm [Reached 17th January 2013].

Historylearningsite, (2012) Remaining Realism and Criminal offense [online]. Available from: http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/left_realism_crime. htm [Utilized 17th January 2013].

Historylearningsite, (2012) Marx and criminal offenses [online]. Available from: http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/marxism_crime. htm [Utilized 17th January 2013].

Historylearningsite, (2012) Right Realism on Criminal offenses [online]. Available from: http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/right_realism_crime. htm [Reached 17th January 2013].

Socialscience, (2012) Functionalist perspective on criminal offense and deviance [online]. Available from: http://socialscience. stow. ac. uk/criminology/criminology_notes/functionalism. htm [Seen 16th January 2013].

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)