Theories of crime and deviance, like social theories in general, are in part creations of their time. Much of the sociological literature on deviance that we have discussed in earlier chapters is characterized, in the last analysis, by a consensual view of society, a view which, above all else, depends upon the assumption that there is some fundamental agreement among men as to the goals of social life, and the rules, or norms, which should govern the pursuit of those goals. This view is usually associated with the pioneering work of Talcott Parsons, and the ‘structural-functionalist’ school of American sociology, though the paradigm of consensus has been apparent in sociological theorizing from the days of Durkheim and Comte. The paradigm has been challenged at various times, but it is significant that the challenges have been most effective during periods of political uncertainty, or, in other words, during periods when men are less than secure about the stability, permanence, or legitimacy of existing social arrangements.