Unit 2 Module 2



Theoretical Perspectives

Durkheim believed that deviance was inevitable and universal. However, he noted that if deviance became excessive,then social order would be threatened and anomie would result.
Conversely if deviance does not occur, Durkheim believed that society would remain static and there would be no progress or social change.

In general functionalist points out two functions of deviance

1. It acts as a positive way to reinforce ideas of right and wrong in society.
    The basic idea behind this assumption is that members of society measure their own behaviour
    against that of deviants. In turn this helps the society to reinforce the social boundaries of what is right and wrong.

2. Provides work - for individuals who are involved in law making and enforcement. These would include workers such as probation officers, police officers and lawyers.

Robert K Merton : Strain Theory
Merton developed Durkheim's concept of anomie and postulated the following:

1. All members of society desire to be economically successful
2. Not all members of society have the same opportunities to equally achieve these success goals.
3. Strain is more prevalent in the lower class groups, since they lack proper conditions to achieve

Strain therefore is a product of the social structure.

Merton outlined five modes of adaptation:

1. Conformity - this is acceptance of the general goals (of a society) and the means to accept them
2. Innovation - this is acceptance of the general goals (of a society), but rejection of the means to achieve these goals
3. Ritualism - this is acceptance of the means and rejection of the goals
4. Retreatism - this is rejection of both the goals and means of achieving
5. Rebellion - Rebellion against both the means and the goals.