deviantmidterm - Ivan Lugo 2/28/08 Soc. Of Deviant Behavior...

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Ivan Lugo 2/28/08 Soc. Of Deviant Behavior PART I Durkheim’s structural functionalist approach to Deviance: Durkheim’s theory says that crime is universal, and is a normal part of every society. 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. He doesn’t say that people are naturally bad, but that all healthy societies need crime as a part of the system. He says that crime is normal, and it contributes to society in four ways: 1) 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 illegal. Stealing from stores is considered wrong, and someone getting caught reminds people of that. 2) 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. Society starts to bond with each other, and the murderer starts to get pushed out of society, towards “them.” 3) 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 of society. 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. 4) 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
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healthy. And making various categories of deviance creates flexibility of the deviant act. Full punishment isn’t always given to the individual, and some rules are sometimes breakable. It isn’t an “either-or” situation. This means that some rules can be flexibly broken, and sometimes punishment isn’t given. -
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course SOCIOLOGY 304 taught by Professor Mucen during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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deviantmidterm - Ivan Lugo 2/28/08 Soc. Of Deviant Behavior...

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