Institution Tutor Sociological Approaches to the Study of Deviance Course/Number Date Department Introduction If there are theoretical frameworks that explain the concept and reality of deviance, then Marxism and functionalism must predominantly feature among them, because of their comprehensive scope and approach to deviance and crime…
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Nevertheless, the similarity between the two is seen in both perspectives being structural theories that explain criminality as a broader social phenomenon. The main personality behind the functionalist theory is Emile Durkheim, who postulates that crime is inevitable in all societies. This is to the effect that even in a society of saints, there are saints that adhere to rules, closer than their counterparts. Marxists take the idea that crime results from an unjust social order, and therefore looks forward to a classless society where exploitation and ownership are inexistent and thereby making crime redundant. This is to say that while Marxism is primarily concerned with explaining why the criminal system is biased in towards the bourgeoisie, functionalists see crime as an integral part of all societies that are healthy. Actors That Break the Rules/Laws Necessary to Maintain Social Order (Functional) Functionalism has it that crime is helpful to the western societies, in that it sets boundaries for permissible behaviour. This is to the effect that public horror at despicable crimes can strengthen social solidarity. This makes the malefactor become acceptable or offers the society the chance to anlayse and reevaluate what it considers deviant, and thereby making the society more pluralistic. In the above development, if the malefactor was a shoplifter, then the society which he has wronged and breached its laws will have been provided with the chance to review the cause and dynamics of shoplifting. The need to reconsider facts and dynamics surrounding kleptomania, poverty and socioeconomic unequal relations between the haves and the have-notes may be applicable at this juncture. In this case, the shoplifter’s act of engaging in small time larceny will have served the society with the chance to make itself more egalitarian, in lieu of merely using the criminal justice system as a punitive measure against some riff raffs. At the same time, when an individual commits a crime, he provides the courts with a public forum where laws are constantly being tested and changed, so that protests of the law being static and irrelevant or outdated are addressed. In this light, credence can be lent to the observation that criminality provides a motor for legitimate social transformation. This standpoint may be seen to slightly correlate with Marxism which also sees the criminal justice system (the policing system, the prison and the judicial court systems) as being estranged from the plight of the contravener of social norms who may necessarily not be a malefactor in essence. Others such as Philips (2011, 1) argue that it is only through these developments that intellectuals are stirred from slumber and into meaningful pursuit. In light of the immediately foregoing, an individual who breaks rules or laws that are necessary for the maintenance of law and social order, serves the society some social good by opening a door for socio-cultural transformation and legislative dynamism. A Label Applied To Agents That Challenge the Class-Based Rules/Laws of Capitalist Society (Marxism) According to Marxism, an individual who breaks societal standards, roles and laws is one who is merely challenging the class-based rules or laws of a capitalist society. Marxists argue
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