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Lecture 7

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Western University
Sociology 2259
Pamela Cushing

Functionalist & Strain Perspectives of Deviance Lecture 7 Functionalism - Dominant paradigm until the 1970s - Emile Durkheim, founding father - The view of society: a smooth running machine - Deviance: occurs when something in that smooth running machine breaks down o People are all of the parts within a machine and if we start fucking up then that’s deviance - Less descriptive, much more theoretical - Deviance was viewed as a natural product of the social order o It was also symptomatic of a problem that must be corrected - Person needs to change, not the system - Society is viewed like an actor-network Three Points of Functionalism - Consensus  what’s good for some is assumed to be good for all o Think of laws  it’s assumed everyone will follow them o It all comes from what men want apparently - Equilibrium  the system has to be running smoothly o Society is like a homeostatic system that needs to be running smoothly o If there is too little deviance, than it adjusts itself accordingly  Mostly to justify agents of social control - Status Quo  interest for functionalists to maintain the status quo  “don’t fix what ain’t broke” o The way society is, is good or it would change  Who’s it good for then? Huh?  Who’s values are being reflected?  Yeah that’s what I thought you ignorant fool  This thing is max ethnocentric  just reflects people with power and control benefiting from all this good stuff • Like slavery and whatnot • Or commodifying cows and shit View of the Individual - We’re just little pieces in the machine playing their own role, in harmony - People are imminently perfect-able through the process of socialization - Society’s job  shape each person after itself - You can see how deviance would be necessary at this point Suicide - Anomie: a state of normlessness - Anomic suicide: “normal” response to a lack of moral regulation - Durkheim: we need rules and regulations – they are part of the process that holds the social system together Structural Functionalism - The structure of society and its systems produce structural strain that cause deviance - Social conditions are frequently structured in such a way that they unintentionally produce deviance - Sub-cultural solutions to strain (ie. Police) o Medical deviance: unnecessary treatments, misuse of the system for personal gain  In urban areas there is competition that leads to medical deviance  Rural areas, then, don’t have enough doctors - So here you can see that doctors aren’t intentionally being deviant, but instead they’re pushed in that direction o That’s what is meant by structural strain creating deviance - You can even see this with police officers as well o They get pushed in the direction where they’ll have to meet a status quo o Pleasing the public and pleasing the code doesn’t always coincide  Then they can misuse this code  makes them a subcultural on their own that people will label as abusive and brutal (deviant) o This is how they deal with the structural strain - Anything that persists must be valuable? I think? Strategic Assumptions of Functionalism 1) Functional requirements of system survival a. Every society must adapt to external enviroments (society) b. Meet some basic goals c. Maintain an acceptable amount of integration 2) To look at deviance that has persisted and try to find out what effects it produces that would explain its contribution to the survival of the system a. Our attitudes towards certain behaviours change when society is changed Manifest and Latent Functions - Robert Merton - Manifest Functions: those that are visible, comprehensible and overt o Ex. compulsory school for kids existed because during the industrial revolution mom and dad were building stupid shit so we needed to send kids to become good little proletariat workers  This is
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