Durkheim Crime Theory

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Crime is defined as an action which evokes dissent and constitutes an offence in society. Crime can take a number of forms which have been conceptualized by a number of sociologists. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the function of crime regarding its contribution towards social stability.

The French Sociologist, Emile Durkheim, was the first to comprehensively establish a relation between social functionalism, crime and deviance. (Emile Durkheim - functional explanation) He put forward his ideas in his works ‘The Rules of Sociological Method’ and ‘The Division of Labour’. Durkheim argues that crime should be considered to be a normal part of society. Only a case of too much crime or too little crime should be a cause for concern. He
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Amongst these three factors, crime has an important role to play. He explained that crime and deviance fulfill two integral functions in society. The first of these is referred to as ‘boundary maintenance’ between good and bad behavior. This means that a criminal act can elicit unity between members of society by evoking a reaction against the criminal act undertaken. Communities are brought together by meetings, social gatherings and flurry of activity to deal with crime in order to regain social stability. The second function is an ‘adaptive one, in which society is forced to undergo innovation and cultural change by the introduction of new challenges and trials. (Talcott…show more content…
This difference in the source of crime with Durkheim’s theory naturally means that crime will be detrimental to the society in which it occurs. Individuals who choose to break the law will then do so knowingly with a deeper and darker motive. (Greenberg and Greenberg, 1993) Modern Marxists suggest that societies are an amalgamation of a number of competing sects and this means that those sects have differing interests than others. Due to an unequal distribution of assets and power in such societies, there is the inevitable existence of crime and deviance. (Greenberg and Greenberg, 1993) Capitalism is the root of such crimes and these are negatively affecting the chance for social stability in a community. One such crime which occurs due to political motivations is the recent case of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests across many regions of the United States of America. Violence and crime due to these protests disrupt social stability instead of upholding

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