Blog Post #3: Durkheim and Crime

Since Durkheim was a functionalist, he believed everything that existed had a purpose. Crime is normal according to Durkheim and I completely agree. As we mentioned in class, there is no society in which crime does not exist. There is no such thing as a perfect Utopian society. In one way or another crime is always present. Crime functions to point out what is accepted and not accepted in a society, which then introduces laws. Laws serve to mark the boundaries people should not transcend. I think Durkheims theory is so important because years later we still recognize crime, we see it every day in the media and all around us. Laws shape our everyday lives. A great example of how crime varies in different societies is the fact that some cultures allow men to have more than one wife, however in the United States that is seen as a crime, with the punishment of divorce. Two different societies have two very different views on the idea of marriage. 

 If Durkheim were alive today I think he’d be intrigued by crime, specifically how it brings society together. For example, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was devastating, it shocked the entire nation. The media, and social networks spread the news instantly. A terrible crime had been committed, and the nation remained unified. My Facebook feed was overflowed with pictures of the crime scene and prayer statuses. Although people did not personally know the families of the victims, they prayed for them and every person understood the depth and seriousness of the crime. Similar to Durkheim’s findings of how war unifies people, I believe crime does too. Two terrible events result in the unification of society. This is interesting because it is pure Durkheim, people need to feel a part of something, and supporting a cause definitely unifies societies.
Finally, the last question I was left with was what a society would be like without crime? But then I realized I can’t even picture this because crime is such a normality is society that it is hard to imagine one without it. 

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