The Functional Theories of Deviance argue that deviance is a product of cultural disaffiliation. These theories support the existing social arrangement in western societies, and have an absolute definition of crime and deviation. According to the functional theorists; police and courts play the necessary role of “social control mechanisms” in society, as they keep a check on deviance, and in turn protect the law and order.
They are generally two schools of thought in this theory:
Traditional Functional Theory:
This theory defines the boundaries between right and wrong, and sets moral values
Emile Durkheim (1938) perspective on crime and deviance
Crime and deviance is an inevitable and normal feature of all societies as, not every member of society is committed to the “collective sentiments ”i.e. shared values and morals belief system, as it is“ impossible to be alike, and hence, every member has equal probability, to break the law. It performs many important the functions in society:
Ø maintains the boundaries of moral values, by publicly identifying the lines
Ø plays and important role in social change, as all social changes begin with some sort of deviance
Ø strengthens social solidarity through reinforcement of collective sentiments, that bind people together.
Ø is pathological and a source of social problems,
A communities are outraged by crime or deviant act, and in this way, the social ties are strengthened, as it can be noticed that suicide rates decrease in times of crisis like wars. However, excessive high rates of crime and deviance indicate weakness of society, as in a harmonious society members have a stable psychological, moral, social place.
Kai Erickson (1966) perspective on crime and deviance
A community feeling jeopardized by a deviant or criminal act, often tends to impose serious sanctions against it, and devotes time and energy for eliminating it, and hence it is declared, how much variability and diversity can be...