Comparing Functionalism and Marxism on Crime and Deviance
This assignment will compare and contrast Functionalism and Marxism on crime and deviance.
The functionalist view of crime is that it is a threat to social order. Someone who commits a crime or a deviant act has gone against the norms and values of society. Functionalist’s believe in the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate. Some people are socialised into crime, some functionalists, however such as Emile Durkheim see crime as being normal and an integral part of all healthy societies. While crime constitutes a threat to social order, too little crime or deviance is unhealthy. It shows that the norms and values of a society are so strong that they prevent the innovation and change necessary for a healthy society. Crime and deviance can be viewed as functional. Durkheim argued that by having public punishments and executions for criminals, society was reminded of its shared norms and values (Bohm and Vogel, 2011, pg 70). Also, it could be argued crime and deviance can act as a safety valve, with Kingsley Davis claiming that there is a conflict between a man's instinctual need for sexual satisfaction and society's need to restrict the legitimate expression of sex to within the family. Therefore, prostitution is functional because it provides sexual satisfaction without threatening the family as an institution (Matza, 2010, pg 74).
However, it is argued by Downes and Rock that suggesting functions for crime and deviance is not the same as finding an explanation for them. ‘ It is one thing to assert that crime can be made to serve some social end or other once it has occurred, for example to heighten solidarity by uniting against the offender. It is another step altogether to explain crime as promoted in advance by society to bring about that end’ (Downes and Rock, 2007, pg 83). There are sub cultural theories which lean towards functionalism. In 1955 Cohen came up with status frustration.'...