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Chapter 4

SOC101Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Juvenile Delinquency, Social Control, Political Machine

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Chapter 4- functionalism, deviance, and control
- Functionalism was vulgarized by its critics because of its consensus approach to social
problems and conservative approach to their solutions
- For Durkheim: crime as normal
o Functionalist approach to crime and deviance continues to survive and to raise
questions of an intellectual kind
Social background: main tenets of functionalism
1. Societies can be treated as a system
a. Production
b. Education
c. Government
d. Belief
Should be all examined in terms of their interrelationships and in terms of their contribution to
society in general. Ex. pointless to a functionalist to study family and kinship simply in terms of
their forms and structures it follows that changes in any one institution have implications for
change in others.
- Aka functional reciprocity
- Kingsely davis
2. Functionalists see the needs of society as different from the needs of individuals
- Detach the needs of social system from needs of the individuals who compose it.
- Talcott Parsons
3. Postulated an evolutionary trend in the development of society
- Evolution from simple agrarian to complex industrial societies and there is a change in
whether institutions are functional or not
- Durkheim and Marx
- Problem central to social and political theory for much of the nineteenth century
- Durkheim’s formulation was his rejection of purely economic solution to a corporate
- Division of labor outstripped the capacity of existing institutions such as the churches to
promote moral regulations; yet result was ultimately to direct competition between
- Occupational association
- Durkheim’s ‘elementary form of the religious life’= society was God
o Function of religion was celebration of the social group
- Malinowski: human culture is neither consistent nor logical, but a mixture of conflicting
- Parson: voluntaristic theory of action would apply to any society
Functionalism collapse in times of stress on internalization of common values by the
individuals over-socialized.
Robert Merton: 2 general principles on sociology of crime and deviance
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1. Functionalism was established to analyze social system conceived comprehensively
a. Defined less by an interest in the empirical bits and pieces of society than with
broad formal workings of society as a whole
2. Durkheim onwards, functionalist maintained that the business of social science is with
a. Regarded as the scientific study of unintended consequences, hidden processes,
deep structures, and ‘latent functions’
Common sense could tell us that deviance is harmful and corrosive of social order and should be
eradicated. If functionalism could show that, to the contrary, deviance actually maintained social
systems, it would have been vindicated
Functions of deviance and Control
Durkheim and Mead
- D: view proper rules of sociological method based on the idea that natural sciences could
be matched by the social sciences if similar methods were used.
o The social world could be investigated through concepts similar to those of health
and disease employed in empirically by reference to the generality of phenomena
in societies of comparable development and complexity
o 2 steps:
phenomenon existed throughout range of known societies and could be
assumed to be normal and sociologist was alerted to its likely functional
contribution of the phenomenon to the conditions necessary for group- life’
had to be established
universal character of deviance pointed to its functionality, but Durkheim could only secure his
conclusion by stating the manner of the contribution is that deviance makes to social stability.
Reaction to deviance serves to
1. heighten collective sentiments
2. sharpen perceptions of moral imperative
3. tightly integrate community against transgressor
**deviance serves to clarify and reinforce the norms and values of the group or fundamental
contribution of social solidarity**
- Durkheim failed to describe how authority works. Neither does he consider how it works
- To the functionalist, deviance free society is a contradiction because to bring elimination
of all deviance would entail such massive heightening of collective sentiment against it.
- Durkheim doesn’t approved of all deviance or all punishment; nor does he want societies
to accept some deviance but not others as the norm
Case study
- Detective Comic series (superman) concerning teens exposed to murder, cruelty and
sexuality in the crime comic.
- There was a widespread doubt of a connection between crime comics and juvenile
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