According to the functionalist view, under ordinary circumstances, there is a consensus among society's members about what behaviors are good, right and correct, and which behaviors are wrong, bad and inappropriate. Thus, behaviors that are significantly bad become "crimes."
When situations arise that are outside of the ordinary, citizens break the rules. This state is described as anomie, and explains that rules are or appear to be suspended. Examples include looting during Hurricane Katrina, or fighting during the LA riots.
Boundary maintenance describes how the public is made aware of various acts of wrongdoing, and the subsequent consequences. This is exemplified by high-profile court cases, TV news, and court shows like Judge Judy.
The structural strain theory explains that all levels of society are socialized to want the same "good things of life," such as cars, income, houses. However, all do not get equal access to the means of legitimately (lawfully) getting these items. If legitimate ways are cut off through social structure, people will find a deviant, or criminal way to get access to these items.
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