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Functionalism and Deviance

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Sociology 2259
Pamela Cushing

Functionalism  Dominant Paradigm until the 1970s  Emile Durkheim is considered the founding father.  Viewed Society as a smooth running machine  Deviance: Occurs when something in that smooth running machine breaks down.  Deviance was viewed as a natural product of the social order and symptomatic of a problem that must be corrected.  The Solution to deviance: Treatment and Rehabilitation. Change the person and not the system Three Main Points of Functionalism - Consensus - Equilibrium - Status Quo View of the Individual People are little pieces of the machine, playing their own role and keeping harmony. People are imminently perfect-able through the process of socialization (they are able to be molded) It is society’s job to shape each person after itself. Suicide Anomie: is the sate of normlessness Anomic Suicide: “Normal” response to a lack of moral regulation Durkheim: “We need rules and regulations; they are the part of the process that holds the social system together” Structural Functionalism and Deviance - The structure of society and its systems produce structural stain that cause deviance - Social Conditions are frequently structured in such a way that they UNINTENTIONALLY produce deviance. - Subcultural solutions to strain (ie Police) Strategic Assumptions of Functionalism 1) Functional Requirements of system survival 2) To look at deviance that has persisted and tries to find out what effects it produces that would explain its contribution to the survival of the system. (For example it was argued that prostitution helps the family unit because men need more sex than women) Manifest and Latent Functions - Robert Merton - Manifest Functions: Those are visible, comprehensible and overt. - Latent Functions: those whose consequences are less obvious and often unrecognized. Eufunction - eufunction is the positive consequences of deviance.
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