1The Normality of Crime:Durkheim and EriksonJohn HamlinDepartment of Sociology and AnthropologyUMDThe idea that crime might be a normal part of society seems untenable to many people. Yet it is the major tenant of the functional theory of crime. The idea found in Durkheim that the amount of deviance remains relatively stable over time, refers to a number of different but interrelated aspects of his theory of society. To begin with a good deal of what Durkheim says in reference to deviance is found in, The Rules of Sociological Method. One of his concerns in this work, as in his work Suicide, is to demonstrate that sociology has a unique object of study, moral life. As he states in Suicide, there can be no sociology without societies and societies cannot exist if there are only individuals.
There is a moral reality greater than the individual. With societies and moral order represented by the conscious collective, there exists social facts which themselves are external to the individual. These social facts hold a moral authority over individuals in society and help keep social order stable.
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