Functionalism, strain and subcultural theories Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Functionalism, strain and subcultural theories Deck (14):

What was Durkheim's views on crime?

Crime is an inevitable and normal aspect of social life. Limited amount necessary and beneficial to society. Crime's function: Reaffirming boundaries, social change, social cohesion eg Manchester bombing, safety valve eg speeding. Crime is a warning system which prevents anomie.


What are criticisms of Durkheim's view on crime?

He says a certain amount of deviance is necessary but does not specify how much
He does not explain why people are more likely to commit crime than others
Ignores how crime might affect individuals eg victim
Crime doesn't always promote solitary, it could isolate people more eg being scared to leave the house in case of attack


What are Travis Hirschi's views on crime + deviance?

Social control theory, why don't people commit crime?: Involvement, Attachment, Belief, Commitment.


Criticisms of Hirschi?

Doesn't explain white collar crime or premeditated crime.
Implies providing youths with ping pong tables will rid society of crime.


What are Robert Merton's views on crime and deviance? (Strain)

Deviance occurs when there is an attachment to the goals (money and power) but not the means to achieve. Merton calls this pressure to deviate the strain to anomie. American culture puts more emphasis on on achievement success at any price than upon doing so by legitimate means.
Conformist- accept the culturally approved goals and strive to achieve them legitimately, Innovator- accept the goal of money success but use illegitimate means to achieve it, Ritualist- give up on trying to achieve the goals but have internalised the legitimate means and so they follow the rules eg poorly paid office workers, Retreatist- individuals reject both the goals and the means and become drop outs eg Homeless, outcasts, drug addicts etc , Rebel- reject society's goals and replace them with new ones eg ISIS, hippies


Criticisms of Robert Merton

Assumes consensus on goals
Does not explain why most conform
Takes official crime stats at face value in which the wc are overrepresented which is why he blames wc
Explains individuals but not groups



Condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose of ideals. State of normalessness


Albert Cohen

Status frustration. The wc can't achieve in school so they invert mc values. Disrupt lessons and don't work. Deviant goals and reputation continues out of school leading to crime.


Criticisms of Albert Cohen

Too focused on wc delinquency


David Matza

Delinquency and drift. We all have subterranean values, we use techniques of neutralisation: denial of victim, denial of injury, denial of responsibility, condemning the condemners, appeal to a higher loyalty. Durkheim would say this is healthy.


Criticisms of David Matza

Fails to group theory into any structural location of economic and social circumstances


What are strain theories?

Argue that people engage in deviant behaviour when they are unable to achieve socially approved goals by legitimate means. Eg they may become frustrated and resort to criminal means of getting what they want.


What did Cloward and Ohlin say?

Illegitimate opportunity structure. Criminal subculture- arise only in neighbourhoods with a longstanding and stable criminal culture. Criminal career ladder
Conflict subcultures- arise in areas of high population turnover. Loosely organised gangs where a professional criminal network is prevented. Violence and turf wars
Retreatist subcultures- they aspire to be a professional criminal but don't succeed so turn to illegal drug use instead


Evaluation of cloward and ohlin?

Over predicts working class crime and ignores white collar crime, wider power structure like the people who make and force the law
Strain theories criticised for assuming that everyone starts off with the same mainstream goals eg popularity with peers, autonomy from adults etc instead of Monet