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Deviance as Functional

Deviance as Functional

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Deviance as Functional

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  1. Deviance as Functional • Emile Durkheim

  2. Functional • The problem of solidarity • Modern societies • Urban • Industrial • Bureaucratic • Pluralistic • Socialization & Intermediate Institutions • Social Integration • Moral Regulation

  3. Functional • Normal, Healthy Society • Normal: Universal • Universal: Necessary • Serves some positive function • Deviance is Normal • Positive functions • sets moral boundaries • strengthens group solidarity for the non-deviants • innovation • tension reduction

  4. The Nature & Study of Deviance in Functionalist Theory • Society is a social system in which all parts contribute to the functioning of the system • Including deviance • Robert Merton

  5. Nature & Study • Merton: things to avoid • Assuming harmonious integration of all parts of social system • Assuming a phenomenon's existence means it is functional for the system • Tautology • Assuming there is only one structural way of accomplishing societal needs • and that way is the one that is in existence

  6. Nature & Study • Implications (Merton) • Deviance may be functional for some but dysfunctional for others • Not all forms of deviance may be positive • Distinguish between manifest & latent functions • There may be alternative and better means to accomplish the same purposes

  7. Empirical Research in Functionalism • Robert Dentler & Kai Erikson • Quaker work groups & Boot camps • Groups induce, permit, and maintain deviance • Deviant behavior helps to maintain group balance • Groups will resist alienation of any one of its members

  8. Empirical Research in Functionalism • Kai Erikson: Wayward Puritans • a study of the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony • support for three functionalist conclusions • Deviance helps to establish and strengthen moral boundaries • Acts considered to be deviant reflect their social context • Societies routinely funnel a certain number of people into a deviant course of action

  9. Social Control in Functionalist Theory • Society is a self-adjusting machine • Like a thermostat • Four societal mechanisms for social control • Socialization • Profit • Persuasion • Coercion

  10. Social Control in Functionalist Theory • Deviance results from the failure of first three mechanisms • Leading to the use of coercion

  11. Evaluating Functionalism • Strengths: • Fosters rational approach to deviance and crime • A certain amount of deviance is normal and even positive • Reduces scape-goating or over-reaction

  12. Evaluating Functionalism • Weaknesses • overly mechanical view of human social existence • Reification • Ignores choice • Logical fallacy • Dangerous (diverts attention from, minimizes serious social problems) • Eliminates social change (or its consideration)