1 The Normality of Crime

1
The Normality of Crime:
Durkheim and Erikson
John Hamlin
Department of Sociology and An
thropology
UMD
The 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. T
he
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 s
ocial facts hold a moral
authority over individuals in society and help keep social order stable.