- 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
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.