Emile Durkheim's Structural Functional Theory

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Structural Functional Theory Sociologists have used the idea of complexity of society as consisting of interrelated units. They have argued that individuals are exposed to different circumstances and influences hence it would be impossible for all to be alike. This is the reason why not everybody shares the same restraints about breaking the law. Through basing their arguments on structural function theory, they have argued that this deviance serves a purpose in the balance of society. Durkheim argued that crime is an inevitable and normal aspect of social life. It is inevitable because not all members of the society can be equally committed to the collective sentiments of shared values and beliefs (Haralambos and Holborn, 1995). According Durkheim deviance served the following major functions in the society: Affirmation of cultural norms and values through Clarification of right and wrong: Responses to deviant…show more content…
The society can call for legal reforms in such cases when the law is clearly out of step with the feelings and values of the majority, legal reform is necessary. For example, the defiance act of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 saw the Supreme Court declare that segregation on public transport was unconstitutional (US. History, 1955). While Evaluating Emile Durkheim’s theory on functionalism, he fails to explain why some people are likely to commit crime than others. His interest is mainly in the relationship between order in society and deviance. In his book “On Morality and society” he stresses on importance of harmony in the society and that views and interests of the people are always depicted in the laws they adopt. This might be argued with for example in the case of Rosa. He describes “the law as a concrete and objective indicator of morality…the law is restitution rather than simply repressive” (Smith,

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