Thursday, July 8, 2021

Anomie (Durkheim) Explained (short summary and definition)

Anomie is a term associated with the sociologist Emile Durkheim. According to Durkheim, modern experience is an experience in a world that has been emptied of binding norms and laws. This shaky world can no longer provide a protective framework and guide essential to social interaction. In an unstable world, human happiness, which is the fruit of the match between individual aspirations and social structure, is no longer possible.

Anomie is a key concept in modern sociology. Emil Durkheim, the father of the functionalist approach in sociology, defines the concept as a lack of coherence between the aspirations of the individual and an unsettled and diffuse social structure that prevents their fulfillment. As a result, the natural desire for personal happiness is impaired (Durkheim, [1897]). As social frameworks and norms are undermined - for example by increasing the propensity for individualism, or against the background of capitalist pressures pushing for rapid economic growth - a mismatch between means and ends is created. The result is embarrassment and anxiety: an inability to prepare in a short time for situations of instability: the old scale of values ​​and norms has already fallen, but no other scale has yet been created to take its place . The mental result of the process is the atmosphere of stress and the constant stress in which modern man lives .

Following Durkheim's theory, R.C. Merton (1968) proposed a general theory of social deviation: Individuals within society feel that a conflict has arisen between the general values ​​of society and the particular values ​​of the group to which they belong. . Certain aspects of the culture of crime are clarified by anomie theory.


Additional article summaries by Emile Durkheim:

Emile Durkheim - The Rules of Sociological Method
Emile Durkheim - Suicide
"The Genesis of the Notion of the Totemic Principle or Mana" – summary and review" - part 1 -2 -3
What is a Social Fact?
Division of Labor in Society 
Elementary Forms of Religious Life
Moral Education
Types of Suicide according to Emile Durkheim
Definition of social facts
On Morality and Society