Higher sociology 2014/2015Watch
Functionalism is a consensus theory which believes in unity and sees society as an organic structure. Functionalist analysis looks for the source of deviance in the nature of society. If the goals of members in society aren't achieved then conflict will arise. Functionalists believe in various social control systems such as the courts and the police in order to keep deviance at bay. Too much deviance is harmful to society however Durkheim believed that a certain amount can actually be beneficial. Durkheim thought even in a society of saints true conformity was impossible. Deviance can help keep the rest of societies members in check. Criminals are made examples of and as a result we don't want to be like them. We fear hobbes state of nature and as a result conform to the system. Too much crime in society however creates anime, a state or namelessness where anything goes. Merton believes this is what has happened with the American dream. Functionalist theory is seen as strong at providing a macro image of society however its been criticised for its use of unreliable statistics.Functioonalsim has also been criticised for saying that deviance has a function in society and can be beneficial.
Otto Pollock (1950) argued that statistics on gender and crime were completely wromg. He claimed that statistics greatly underestimate women involved in crime. He believed that women only crime existed such as abortion and prostitution. He believed that women were naturally good liars -there ability to fake orgasm- he believed this helped them get out of trouble. He also stated that the male dominated authorities were likely to go more gently on women because of the western culture to be kind to women and respect them. He believed that nearly all shop lifting offences were carried out by women and also that women domestic cleaners committed a lot of theft (he had no evidence for this). He also claimed that the motherly figure of women in the house hold meant that they could probably get away with sexually abusing their children and poisoning guests. Pollock was hugely criticised from people in all blocks of life, especially feminists. Feminists belived his work to be deeply sexist and rooted in the past. He had no evidence to support his claims. However he was correct that statistics aren't accurate.
Interactionalsim is considered to be the bridge between action and structuralist theories. It examines society as a whole and also on a micro level with individuals. Interactionalists focus on the social construction of crime and deviance and reject the notion that theres types of conduct that are inherently deviant. Interactionalists ask why certain groups are more involved in crime than others. Labelling is considered to be the primary perspective behind interactionalism. For example a child may steal a toy from his friends house and as a result get labeled childish by his parents and friends family. However if he was in a poor neighbourhood he would get labeled as being in the early stages of criminality. As a result he would slowly conform to his label. The girls involved in sexual abuse in rotherham were labeled as life style choices, as a result of being in a poorer area.
Howard Becker (1963) is a strong beliver of labelling theory. He believes that deviant identities are produced through the labelling processes rather than deviant motivators. Theres no such thing as an inherently deviant act. The bullingdon club (which david cameron and Boris were both members of) were labeled as deviant yet went on and lived very successful lives. The london rioters were all from poorer backgrounds and were labeled deviant and given criminal records and sent to prison. As a result the higher up the social ladder you are you're more likely to get away with deviant acts.
Howard Becker was seen as a strong at explaining primary deviance. Also seen as strong at explaining the complex nature of deviance. However he was criticised for inadequately explaining variations in deviant behaviour. He was also criticised for believing that everyone in society starts of with the same goals in life.
In conclusion crime studies in the past used to approach the issue as a male working class issue. Studies on gender and crime have shown that crime is mostly committed by men however statistics give a much exaggerated picture and don't include the “hidden figures of crime”.
definition of crime and deviance
biological factors (lombroso)
changes- in homosexuality etc
stats are not reliable.
they are patchy- record only reported crime.
theory 1- marxism
general key features of marxism
talk about white collar crimes etc
dont believe in stats- fabricate stats to suit own purpose. police being selective.
believe 42% stats are false and misleading
theory 2- functionalism
general key features of functionalism
crime and deviance is functional and dysfunctional
reseearch is merton
see crime stats as reliable- come from scientific approach as they are collected from police and BCS
Study to support Marxism
S Box (1981)
analyse stats on class basis
sees them as distorted in support of ruling class
Study to support Functionalism
British Crime Survey
attempts to measue unreported aswell as repotred crime
good at detecting trends
sorry i had to type this up in bullet points. you just have to elaborate more on those points. if you find a better study on functionalism can you please let me know?