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Word Count: 1,392
Functionalism is a macro approach that sees society working in consensus Society has functional pre-requisites that need to be met in order for society to work in a unified harmonious way This is achieve through social institutions such as the family and education that all work together in moulding the individual through socialisation therefore integrating them into the common value consensus that everyone shares It follows therefore that everything in society must be functional and serving the functional pre-requisites or else it wouldnt exist This is true of the apparently destructive appearance of crime and deviance and functionalists have tried to describe its role in terms of benefiting the whole of society The orthodox functionalist approach focuses on Durkheims attempts to explain the purpose of crime and deviance He said that deviance is functional and only becomes dysfunctional if the crime rates are too high or too low It performs several key tasks in society Deviance sets boundaries in society It does this by influencing the Collective Sentiment The Collective Sentiment is the shared norms and values of a society If the crime rate of society is too high this produces a state of anomie where people dont know the norms and therefore society cant function By certain acts being labelled as deviant and made against the law the boundaries are constantly reasserted when people break the law They go against the Collective Sentiment and therefore alert society to the boundaries of it Deviance also establishes new norms for the collective sentiment When a new law is made someone has to be tried and found innocent or guilty to show the Collective Sentiment the new boundaries Deviance also stimulates change in society It keeps the law changing so it reflects the Collective Sentiment and also stimulates more radical changes such as political ones With a low crime rate society would stagnate and die because no change is being stimulated Deviance is also a safety
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