What is the Structural-Functionalist view of crime?

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Functionalist theory originates in the work of the French sociologist David Émile Durkheim (15 April 1858–15 November 1917). The main characteristic of functionalist theories is that social phenomena such as crime and deviance are viewed as parts of an interlocking system rather than products of individual circumstances. Social institutions are seen as necessary to the functioning of society and act as parts of an interlocking organism shaped to maintain social order and stability.

What is defined as "crime" is is socially determined. All societies must define what is legitimate behavior and what behavior must be regulated or eliminated in order for the society for function. The specifics of which behaviors are considered crimes vary with the needs of the particular society at the particular moment. For example, dueling would have been legal in the Renaissance, but killing someone in a duel would be illegal now. Likewise, bans of opioids and other recreational drugs are relatively...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 17, 2020
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