Kahil Perine - Functionalist
Victoria DeCrescenzo - Interactionist
Jordan Sanders - Conflict
JPS 233 001
Deviance & Society
October 20, 2014
Drug trafficking- generally refers to the sale and the distribution of illegal drugs. Penalties for federal drug trafficking convictions vary accord to the quantity of the controlled substance involved in the transaction. This is also known as drug dealing or pushing, that happens on the streets. In the “drug dealing world” there are levels to the game and the lower ranking people are the ones on the streets. Almost any drug can be found on the street such as, marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, bath salts, crack cocaine, PCP, K2-Spice, hashish, opium, etc. and even prescribed drugs from the doctors. In today’s society drugs are in such high demand almost every neighborhood has a “seller”, “buyer”, “user” and is becoming more popular everyday in the younger generations. Functionalist
The functionalist perspective stands as one of the three major perspectives used by sociologists to understand society. The functionalist is concerned with how each part of society works together to contribute to the bigger picture of society. Each part plays a functional role in maintaining societal stability. Meaning, society is more than just the sum of its parts. As such, each component of society serves as its own institution that fulfills different needs and contributes to the form of society in distinct ways. Thus, the individual parts all depend on each other to shape society’s bigger picture.
This perspective has been further developed by theorist throughout the years. One of these theorist, Robert Merton, was a major functionalist sociologist that proposed that human functions be divided into two types: manifest functions and latent functions. Merton saw that social practices tended to produce unforeseen consequences that were often different from the stated purpose. He identified these unintentional results as the latent function, and the expected results as the manifest function. Furthermore, theorist have gone on to label negative unforeseen outcomes as dysfunctions.
In regard to dealing drugs, a functionalist would view this practice as serving multiple functions. Drug distribution, at its most basic level, is a means for individuals in low income neighborhoods to achieve financial success. Dealers also play a role in fulfilling the demand for drugs in neighborhoods. As such, these dealers gain prestige and respect for the role they play.As children often associate money and power with success, many will lend their admiration to these individuals and look to them as role models. Here, the manifest function of drug dealing is financial success. Dealers in low income neighborhoods may feel that legit opportunities for earning a living are limited and often turn to the distribution and sale of drugs as a result. In other words, individuals will usually turn to drug dealing as a means for breadwinning. The latent function of this practice is prestige and respect. A dealer’s stated purpose for distributing drugs is usually not admiration from peers, yet it is still a welcome consequence for many engaged in the act. However, most try to avoid jail time and death - this practice’s disfunction - wholeheartedly. These negative outcomes are the direct result of drug dealing and when they occur they usually arrive completely unexpected. Additionally, pursuing a college degree is found to have a manifest function, latent function, and dysfunction. Most students attend college with acquiring a desirable career and a high income as their stated goal. Thus, the manifest function here is a successful career. Through their experiences in college, students are instilled with skills, aptitudes, and other characteristics that those who have not attended higher education do not possess. As these outcomes are often unintended, they are...
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