Anomie Theory Essay

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She receives government assistance and works a part-time job.

She has tried to get a full-time job, but if she makes too much money, she will lose her government aid. She is depressed and is trying to do her best, but nothing makes sense to her anymore.

When applying Durkheim's theory, one could conceive of an example where the theory would apply.

For instance, imagine a poor, inner-city teen with no access to job training or college.

The only regulating agencies would be the desire for personal advantage and the fear of punishment. Merton defined a continuum of responses to anomie that ranged from conformity to social innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and, finally, rebellion.

Delinquency, crime, and suicide are often reactions to anomie.Both of these examples show people who feel a lack of purpose, frustration, and illustrate despair.They both believe that the quest to try for other work would be useless, so they turn to crime. The idea of anomie means the lack of normal ethical or social standards.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 79,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.As a consequence, Durkheim believed that anomie was a state where the expectations of behavior are unclear, and the system has broken down. Durkheim claimed that this normlessness caused deviant behaviors, and later, as claimed in his 1897 work, Suicide, depression and suicide.Durkheim's theory was based upon the idea that the lack of rules and clarity resulted in psychological status of worthlessness, frustration, lack of purpose, and despair.Striving is considered useless, because there is no accepted definition of what is desirable. Merton studied the causes of anomie, or normlessness, finding it severest in people who lack an acceptable means of achieving their personal goals.Goals may become so important that if the institutionalized means—i.e., those means acceptable according to the standards of the society—fail, illegitimate means might be used.Although Durkheim’s concept of anomie referred to a condition of relative normlessness of a society or social group, other writers have used the term to refer to conditions of individuals.In this psychological usage, anomie means the state of mind of a person who has no standards or sense of continuity or obligation and has rejected all social bonds.


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