Soc. Of Deviant Behavior
Durkheim’s structural functionalist approach to Deviance:
Durkheim’s theory says that
crime is universal, and is a normal part of every
Crime and deviance may change form depending on the society, but it is still
everywhere, it is universal.
Crime can’t be abnormal, because it is universal.
say that people are naturally bad, but that
all healthy societies need crime as a part of
He says that crime is normal, and
it contributes to society in four ways:
Crime sets up social boundaries.
It distinguishes from right and wrong, and
is essential for individuals to perform in a society.
It teaches what is not
accepted in the society.
For example, if someone shoplifts from a clothing store, and is
caught and punished, it will show other people that that action is
Stealing from stores is considered wrong, and someone
getting caught reminds people of that.
Crime strengthens in-group solidarity.
In other words, it distinguishes
between “us,” the conformist upholders of the law, and “them,” the people
who commit crimes.
When someone commits a deviant act, it is one of the
moments when society actualizes itself, and “we” say “we are not like that!”
We then start to imagine what “them” is, and we actualize ourselves even
further by distinguishing between “us” and “them.”
If there is a murderer being tried on national TV, and people are
watching it, they will think to themselves “I’m not like him at all!
He’s a murderer!”
A mother may tell her kid that “we” are not
like this man at all, and he deserves to be punished.
to bond with each other, and the murderer starts to get pushed out
of society, towards “them.”
Crime allows for adaptive innovation.
If there was no crime or deviance in
society, then there would never be any change.
Deviance provides new
perspectives on ideas and actions.
It contributes to the progress and advancement
Deviance opens new horizons and orders.
Not all deviant acts do this,
but certain ones that we don’t know at the time can lead to social change.
If it wasn’t for deviance, then the Civil Rights Movement would
have never happened.
It was a movement that would ultimately
contribute to society, but the black communities actions were
considered deviant at the time.
Because of their deviant actions,
we now have equal rights for them.
Crime reduces social tension.
If there was no deviant category, there would
be a society of saints.
Society needs a definition of deviance to keep the society