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Chapter DUR

SOC219H5 Chapter DUR: Reading Note-Durkheim

Course Code
Jennifer Carlson

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Reading Guide
Durkheim, Emile. 1895. “The Functions of Crime.” 174 – 177.
Durkheim writes, “to make crime a social illness would be to concede that
sickness is not something accidental, but on the contrary derives in certain cases
from the fundamental constitution of the living creature” (18).
- What is “the living creature” he is referring to?
- What does he mean when he says crime “derives…from the fundamental
constitution of the living creature”?
- In saying that crime is “not something accidental,” what is Durkheim
arguing against?
Durkheim argues that “to classify crime among the phenomena of normal
sociology, is…to assert that it is a factor in public health, an integrative element
in any healthy society” (18).
- What does Durkheim mean when he designates crime as “normal”
versus “pathological”? (see also bottom of page 18, top of page 19)
- What happens when “actions regarded as criminal…cease”? (see
paragraph 3, page 19)
Durkheim maintains that “Such universal and absolute uniformity is utterly
impossible, for the immediate physical environment in which each one of us is
placed, our hereditary antecedents, the social influences upon which we depend,
vary from one individual to another and consequently cause a diversity of
consciences…since there cannot be a society in which individuals do not diverge
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