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 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
• - 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
⁃ 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
⁃ 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