Theory Being Posed in "The Normal and the Pathological" Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Theoretical Argument

Crime is a normative aspect of any social construct. That however does not in any way imply that a criminal is a set of or his psychological and biological endowments, if that may be called so. These are actually two very different queries on altogether different premises. The differentiation is better captured when sociological pursuits (fraud, slander, calumny, insults, etc.) are ingrained into the discussion about criminality. It also discount the fact that criminality should be looked down upon, though crimes are an accepted social construct. In ways similar to an individual avoiding pain, so does the society abhor crime. As an extension, similarly as pain cannot be wished away and does form a feature of life, so does criminality about a social structure. That is however not at all to defend crime. Such a posit would be against the moral obligations that has tangible outcomes and become rather unacceptable to a layman if spoken in the same tongue. (Emile Durkheim, 2008).

In one of the most compelling statements made in the context, that of divergence from normative and acceptable social behavior, Durkheim has emphasized on the observation that if throughout criminality has sustained in all cultures and societies then, it must be accepted that it is part and parcel of any society. Criminal activities alone should not be construed as a sign of a deprecated society. It is, he says, the diversity of thought that is allowed that leads to deviant behavior and leads to crime. It is this very divergence of that is causative of change, which again is the very essence of life. Stagnant society is an impossibility even in its very notion. Thus Durkheim states that we beget crime in exchange for allowing for freedom of expression and thought. That should then not be understood as meaning that a better society has more criminality imbued in it. Indeed the rising crime rates are not tolerable by any stretch of imagination. Durkheim offers no explanation for crime, its meaning or causes. He states that they (crimes) only give an insight into the 'pathological' state of a society. He only ventured as far to dispel some prevalent definitions of normative behavior. He explains that those behavioral traits change with time and prevalent conditions. A very acceptable behavior in one time frame and societal structure could be acceptable as the conditions prevailing then would be deemed not only normative but also a requirement. However, the same behavior in changed social conditions and in a different time frame could be unacceptable and termed as a crime. Thus, crime is not 'pathological' as often construed. It is only a wide deviation from the acceptable normative behavior of a particular time and state of society. Deviances are acceptable and engender change. In removing crimes altogether we would have curtailed freedom itself, Durkheim, states. Consequently, intolerance towards…

Sources Used in Document:


Emile Durkheim, (2008). The normal and the pathological, Oxford University Press.

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