CRITICALLY EVALUATE THE CONTRIBUTION OF CONSENSUS APPROACHES (SUCH AS FUNCTIONALISM) TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF CRIME AND DEVIANCE (40 MARKS)
Crime and deviance can be defined as activities which break the legal norms of a society and are punishable by law and activities which do not conform to the norms of a particular community. All societies have systems of social control for example the processes by which individuals and groups are persuaded and sometimes forced to conform to the dominant norms and values of society. This can be divided through two types. The first is formal-this is through systems such as the police, courts and the armed forces which are subject to the control of the state. This often involves coercion and is the ultimate way by which conformity is enforced. The second is informal-this is through family, school, media, religion. They all play a major role in social control through the socialisation process. It is through socialisation that people are persuaded to develop a moral and psychological commitment to society and become willing to conform. In addition other institutions may have formal rules and punishment e.g. work, school, colleges etc.
For society to work together there must be a general consensus. The consensus approach in relation to crime and deviance would suggest that all operate with a deterministic view of society e.g. ’society creates a man’. However this is seemingly very difficult as it can be argued that not all sociologists have the same view.
The starting point of all Functionalism is that all societies have certain basic needs - functional requirements which must be met if a society is to survive. Functionalists are therefore concerned with the contribution the various parts of a society make towards those needs. All Functionalism is concerned with the basic need and desirability for social order and stability to prevail in society. Therefore would argue that deviance is normal, it is a necessary part of all...