Example Answer for Question 2 Paper 3: A Level Sociology, June 2017 (AQA)
Last updated 21 Jun 2017
Q2 [6 marks]
Emile Durkheim outlined several functions that crime and deviance performs, both positive and negative. One function he suggested that crime and deviance performs is the positive function of boundary maintenance. Durkheim suggested that crimes lead to members of society coming together to condemn the wrong-doer. This helps to create more solid bonds in society as it reinforces the collective conscience of what is morally right and wrong in society.
A second function of deviance is to create change. Behaviours or values that are initially seen as deviant are sometimes accepted by society and absorbed into the mainstream culture as a normal pattern of behaviour or value. An example of this is the Civil Rights Movement in the USA or the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK in the late 1960s.
A final function of deviance is to act as a warning sign that society is not functioning adequately. Functionalists suggest that there is an optimum level of crime. Too much suggests that there is something wrong with society, whilst too little suggests that social change is being suppressed and society is stagnant.
Please Note: These answers have been produced without the knowledge of the mark scheme and merely reflect my attempt at producing a model answer on the day of the exam.