functionalist perspective on deviance
November 13th, 2020

The theory states that social structures may pressure citizens to commit crimes. Social strain theory was developed by famed American sociologist Robert K. Merton. In this case, Merton was proposing a typology of deviance based upon two criteria: (1) a person’s motivations or his adherence to cultural goals; (2) a person’s belief in how to attain his goals. A key to understanding Cowan and Ohlin’s theory is the notion of subculture. From a functionalist perspective, when punishment of deviant behavior is public it serves to a. reaffirm the collective beliefs and values of the society. Subcultures create a stacking or layering effect within a larger cultural context. Take, again, the example of homosexuality. by kdkasi | Dec 4, 2017 | Deviance and Social Control. From a structural functionalist perspective, then, how does society change, particularly in regards to establishing norms and deviant behaviors? According to Merton, there are five types of deviance based upon these criteria: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion. In order to avoid unsettling society, one must be aware of what behaviors are marked as deviant. Lots More Videos Available on . He theorizes that crime is necessary and even functional but fails to distinguish between different types of crime. These types of strain can insinuate social structures within society that then pressure citizens to become criminals. In a retreatist subculture youth learn to reject both legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures. In a conflict subculture, youth learn to form gangs as a way to express frustration about the lack of normative opportunity structures in their neighborhood. In a criminal subculture, youth learn to use crime for material gain. Learning Objectives Social parameters create boundaries between populations and enable an “us-versus-them” mentality within the two groups. Missed the LibreFest? An individual can be deviant by refusing to accept social norms or an individual can deviate by accepting social norms but using deviant means to achieve their realization. 12. Describe the functionalist view of deviance in society. First, systems of recognizing and punishing deviance create norms and tell members of a given society how to behave by laying out patterns of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Structural functionalism has its roots in the very origins of sociological thought and the development of sociology as a discipline. However, as traits become more mainstream, society will gradually adjust to incorporate the formerly stigmatized traits. The Functionalist Perspective on Deviance Functionalism claims that deviance help to create social stability by presenting explanations of non-normative and normative behaviors. Furthermore, he explained the functions of deviance in a society. Structural functionalists ask “How does any given social phenomenon contribute to social stability?” This question cannot be answered without investigating deviance. Retreatism involves the rejection of both the cultural goals and the traditional means of achieving those goals. Some traits will be stigmatized and can potentially cause social disruption. In the context of the U.S., in which prosperity is a social value, one could deviate by rejecting the notion of wealth. The functionalist perspective argues that deviance: B. Critics point to the fact that there is an ample amount of crime/delinquent behavior that is “non-utilitarian, malicious, and negativistic” (O’Grady, 2011), which highlights that not all crimes are explicable using Merton’s theory. c. reinforce that crime brings one publicity and … Cowan and Ohlin used juvenile delinquency as a case study to explore this theory of illegitimate opportunity structures. While this us-versus-them mentality solidified social identities and solidarities within the two categories, there was an overarching social schism. Conformity involves the acceptance of the cultural goals and means of attaining those goals. While this us-versus-them mentality solidified social identities and solidarities within the two categories, there was an overarching social schism. As time went on, homosexuality has come to be accepted as somewhat more mainstream. Deviance provides the key to understanding the disruption and recalibration of society that occurs over time. Some traits that could cause social disruption will be stigmatized. Functionalist's perspective on deviance. A subculture is a group of people with a culture that differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong. Accordingly, what originally appears as a fracturing of society actually reinforces social stability by enabling mechanisms for social adjustment and development. In a foraging society, most people are very similar in their knowledge, skill, and everyday practices such as gathering and hunting. Conversely, being marked as deviant can actual bolster solidarity within the marked community, as members take pride and ownership in their stigmatized identity and create cohesive units of their own (for example, members of the LGBT community unifying around Pride). Crimes such as vandalism, for example, can’t be explained by a need for material acquisition. While a pickpocket may deviate from American social norms, he adheres to social norms of a smaller group of individuals who identify as American pickpockets. Deviance allows for the majorities to unite around their normativity, at the expense of those marked as deviant. A typology is a classification scheme designed to facilitate understanding. The functionalist approach argues that too much individualism leads to increased deviance and crime.

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