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Deviance: Functionalism Continued.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2259
Pamela Cushing

Deviance Nov 9: Functionalism Continued Remember from last lecture that functionalists view the deviant as curable • Deviance occurs when something in the machine breaks down. - Fixable Dysfunction:  Dysfunction arises when the equilibrium is off. • The negative functions of deviance • All the things that contribute to stress and strain rather than the smooth operation of the whole (child abuse, alcohol abuse ex) – need to treat the individual for these abuses to fix deviance. • Social control can be negative too. Why is this? - Stifle creativity. There may be abuse in power. (Think of white-collar crime for example, sometimes police abuse their power.) • - How deviant people are treated – do not always lead people to want to conform • - Prisoners come out of prison better criminals. • - What happens to people who have a criminal record? - They are stigmatized; their life options are diminished. Ideology of Rehabilitation ⁃ Focus is on the individual not the system ⁃ This is the basis for the criminal justice system ⁃ Individual can be “fixed” ⁃ There is no room in this theory to fix the system. - Society is good does not need to be fixed. ⁃ What happens when you cannot fix the individual – the system gives up on you, the deviant is labeled incorrigible (uncorrectable) – this is targeting individuals rather than looking at the social conditions that may lead to deviant behavior Strain Theory ⁃ Robert Merton ⁃ Strain has the capacity to push people into making deviant choices. ⁃ Merton took Durkheim's anomie and added the idea of strain. ⁃ The strain between aspirations of the individual and the expectations in society. ⁃ Wanting to achieve the American Dream puts strain on the individual ⁃ Assumption: Money = Success (shared cultural goals) ⁃ If you cannot make money through legitimate means you have to look at illegitimate
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