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Assess The View That Rime Is Functional, Inevitable And Normal

1066 words - 5 pages

Assess the View that Crime is Functional, Inevitable and Normal. (21 marks)
Within the sociological perspectives of crime and deviance, there is one particular approach which argues that crime is functional, inevitable and normal. This sociological perspective, of Functionalism, consists of Durkheim’s work on crime and deviance. His main argument was that ‘crime is normal’ and that it is ‘an integral part of all healthy societies’. This perspective views crime and deviance as an inevitable feature of all societies which is universal. However, Durkheim did argue that too much crime can lead to the destabilisation of society. Durkheim identified three positive aspects of crime which make it a ...view middle of the document...

Moreover, Durkheim argued that “crime only becomes dysfunctional (harmful to society) when its rate is unusually high” (H&H 5th edition). He argued that all social change begins in some form of deviance in order for change to occur. He states “yesterday’s deviance must become today’s normality”. Functionalists may approach crime and deviance in a positive light however there are criticisms of Durkheim’s theory and some can criticise some of it for being too “abstract”
Contrastingly, other sociological perspectives such as interactionist and Marxist can provide criticisms of Durkheim’s theory. Firstly, one can question what we define “some crime” as. Durkheim et al describe “just a little bit of” crime as being healthy and essential for societal continuation, but what do they exactly mean when they mean “a little” or “some”. What maybe a little for Durkheim may be a lot for someone else. This is something which cannot be measured and can be considered abstract. Furthermore, functionalists take the consensus approach to social solidarity, to which it may be considered that crime can promote this idea however sometimes it can have the opposite effect. In some ways what they define as little crime and healthy for society may cause some people to become much more secluded from society by remaining in doors from, fear of attack. Furthermore, Durkheim’s study may be quite old, however it can be stated that crime is still around and perhaps it will never stop. One could even state that crime may be on the increase. Crime possibly may be inevitable in societies but who’s to say that it is healthy. One could even criticise what Durkheim actually defines as “healthy”. Does Durkheim suggest that rape, murder or manslaughter are acceptable and healthy? There are flaws in Durkheim’s theory as well as conflicting sociological views however one can begin to identify that perhaps that not all crime is “healthy”.
Similarly, Marxists may see crime as also being inevitable within society however they see crime inevitable in criminogenic capitalism. Marx criticises Durkheim’s view and states that crime is not “healthy” but actually damaging to the working class and actually gives rise to crime such poverty. Additionally, focusing on Marx’s perspective we can interpret that “who actually makes the law” and who benefits from it. Pearce...

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