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Understanding DevianceA Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking

Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking (7th edn)

David Downes, Paul Rock, and Eugene McLaughlin
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date: 28 January 2022

p. 704. Functionalism

The Durkheimian Legacylocked

p. 704. Functionalism

The Durkheimian Legacylocked

  • David Downes, David DownesEmeritus Professor, London School of Economics
  • Paul RockPaul RockEmeritus Professor, London School of Economics
  •  and Eugene McLaughlinEugene McLaughlinProfessor of Criminology, City University

Abstract

This chapter explores the functionalist approach to crime, deviance, and control as well as the criticisms heaped against it. It first considers the central tenets of functionalism, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it has contributed to the sociological perspective on crime and deviance before turning to the views of Émile Durkheim and George Herbert Mead about the functions of crime, deviance, and control. It then discusses developments in American sociology and the legacy of the proponents of functionalism. It also examines the adoption of functionalist approaches for the analysis of crime in American society by scholars such as Kingsley Davis, Robert Merton, and Talcott Parsons.

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