Durkheim Punishment Theory Summary

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After reading the text this week about Durkheim, I now understand Durkheim’s theory about punishments promoting solidarity. First, one aspect that Durkheim wanted to understand was how societies changed their views on solidarity as they progressed. He believed that there was a collective morality that the individuals in a society possessed. He stated that societies do need framework and social organization, which then can result in social norms, values, and solidarity. Therefore Durkheim considers punishments of offenders in a straightforward way that reassures a society’s moral order and solidarity, which then helps the society to thrive (Garland, 1993).
In addition, Durkheim believes that punishments are based off of an emotional and sometimes
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Therefore, collectively we view punishment slightly differently. We still may have an emotional response as a citizen, however, courts are supposed to be unemotional and just. Therefore, we as a society are all basically in unity that an acceptable punishment has been delivered to a particular criminal, and none of the characteristics above have been violated, this in itself promotes our unity (Garland, 1993).
According to Mead (1918), punishment is in place to first of all make the criminal pay for their actions. Punishment is also in place to deter others who may commit the same offense to be discouraged due to the proportionality of the punishment to the offense. Punishment promotes solidarity in a society by instilling such a hostile emotional response to crime. This response then contributes to the society believing a crime has been committed against them, which in turn unifies the community due to the believing of the same common goal of
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The emotions may not be the exact same; however, Durkheim states that emotion and vengeance play a role in social solidarity, while Mead mentions hostility and emotion against an offender play this similar role. Also, a similarity of the two theories is that they both adapt to changing worlds. Durkheim alters his theory slightly to adhere to more modern societies, because he believes his statements are still relevant. Mead also changes his outlook in regards to the juvenile court not being as harsh in regards to exiling offenders to promote social solidarity. In conclusion, another difference is that Mead focuses on a more unified societal response to punishment, while Durkheim focuses on holding true to the sacred social values and norms that offenders would potentially desecrate. Finally, Mead views societal punishment as a potential deterrent, while Durkheim views punishment as straightforward to reaffirm the social norms (Garland, 1993; Mead,

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