Teahcer Essay

3510 Words Feb 22nd, 2014 15 Pages
2) Functionalist perspective
Crime is inevitable – Durkheim, a functionalist, said that crime is inevitable in society. This is because nt everyone will buy into the collective sentiments of society, and will deviate from these norms and beliefs.
Durkheim said a certain amount of crime and deviance as normal and an integral part of all healthy societies. This is because it acts as a ‘safety valve’, providing a relatively harmless way for someone to express their discontent. For example, Cohen said that “prostitution performs such a safety valve function without threatening the institution of the family”, this is because he believed this crime of prostitution could relieve the stress in a discrete way without damaging the rest of the
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Conformity – Members of society conform to the norms of the rest of society (in this case the need for material goods) and try to achieve success through the normal means (work hard at school etc.) 2. Innovation – People who feel that they cannot possibly achieve through the normal route try new ways of making money, in most cases this is a life of crime 3. Ritualism – People who feel they can’t achieve because they have few job prospects, but also can’t turn to innovation might lower their goals and aspirations. This is considered deviant because they have rejected society’s norms and values by creating their own lower goals. 4. Retreatism – People who cannot possibly earn success and feel there is no way to do so might retreat from society, or ‘drop out’. They resign to failure and often turn to alcohol or drugs abuse. 5. Rebellion – People who cannot succeed but do not want to just admit defeat might rebel and try to create their own society with new goals and means.
To summarize, Merton believed the pressure exerted on people to succeed, a strain to anomie, meant that if they didn’t they would act normlessly to cope, and this could manifest itself in any of the 5 ways shown above.
Evaluation of Merton
- Some critics argue that actually society might not have a value consensus, so how can people feel pressured by it if the value consensus doesn’t exist.
- Also people say that Merton exaggerates working class

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