Anomic Suicide, Anomia
David Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) borrowed the word
anomie from the french philosopher Jean-Marie Guyau and used it in his book Suicide (1897). Emile Durkheim defined the term anomie as a
condition where social and/or moral norms are confused, unclear, or simply not present.
Emile Durkheim felt that this lack of norms led to deviant
Anomie is a concept developed by
Emile Durkheim to describe an absence of clear societal norms and values. Emile Durkheim was also concerned that anomie might arise
from a lack of consensus over social regulation of the workplace. Anomie means a condition
or malaise which in individuals is characterized by an absence or diminution of standards
or values. David Émile Durkheim with Karl Marx and Max Weber is considered as the main architect of modern social
Anomie can occur in several
different situations. For example, the undermining of traditional values may result from
cultural contact. Mertons most influential work was his theory of anomie. Anomie is
a well-known theory within the discipline of criminology.
Robert King Merton
first published the theory in 1938 in an article titled "Social Structure and
Anomie" (Hunt, 1961:59). It was this work that catapulted Merton into the
sociological spotlight in which he has forever remained.
The concept of anomie can be
helpful in partially understanding the experience of colonized Aboriginal peoples as their
traditional values are disrupted (Aboriginal
Culture and Tradition), yet they do not identify with the new cultural values imposed
upon them: they lose a sense of authoritative normative regulation.
Anomia is a social psychological
condition, rather than a societal condition which anomie refers to,
characterized by a breakdown in values and a feeling of isolation. 'Anomia' is much easier
to measure than has Durkheim's concept of 'anomie'.
In the philosophy of law and
political science, anomia is the state of the absence of law, the negation of law in the
sense of lex. Anomia in the sense of the lack of a positive law promulgated by the
authority of the state (lex) occurs in conceptions that accept the existence of a
pre-social and pre-political state of nature as a historical fact or as a mere hypothesis.
A Developmental Test of
Mertonian Anomie Theory - SCOTT MENARD
Merton's theory of anomie and deviant behavior has not been tested adequately. A careful
review of Merton's writings on anomie theory is used to construct a more complete and
rigorous test of the theory for respondents in early, middle, and late adolescence. -
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 32, No. 2, 136-174 (1995)
Change, Institutional Anomie, and Homicide - Sang-Weon Kim, Dong-Eui University,
South Korea, William Alex Pridemore, Indiana University
Abstract: This study examined institutional anomie theory in the context of transitional
Russia. Results of models estimated using negative binomial regression analysis show direct positive effects of
poverty and socioeconomic change and direct negative effects of family strength and polity
on regional homicide rates. There was no support for the hypothesis that stronger social
institutions reduce the effects of poverty and socioeconomic change on violence.
ANOMIE AND STRAIN:
CONTEXT AND CONSEQUENCES OF MERTONS TWO THEORIES
Richard Featherstone, University of Northern Iowa and Mathieu Deflem
Abstract: Robert Merton presented two not always clearly differentiated theories in his
seminal explorations on the social-structure-and-anomie paradigm: a strain theory and an
anomie theory. We contend that scholars who are critical of strain theory should not
automatically discard Mertons anomie theory, because the perspective of anomie is
compatible with several other theories of crime and delinquency.
BEHAVIOR GENETICS AND
ANOMIE/STRAIN THEORY - ANTHONY WALSH
Behavior genetics is a biologically-friendly environmental discipline that often tells us
more about environmental effects on individual traits than about genetic effects. Anomie/social strain theory is used to illustrate the usefulness of
behavior genetics to criminological theories. Behavior genetics examines the individual
differences that sort people into different modes of adaptation and that lead them to cope
constructively or destructively with strain.
ASSESSING MESSNER AND
ROSENFELD'S INSTITUTIONAL ANOMIE THEORY: A PARTIAL TEST
MITCHELL B. CHAMLIN, JOHN K. COCHRAN
This investigation evaluates this proposition with cross-sectional data for U.S. states.
The nonlinear models show considerable, indirect support for Messner and Rosenfeld's
institutional anomie theory, revealing that the effects of poverty on property crime
depend on levels of structural indicators of the capacity of noneconomic institutions to
ameliorate the criminogenic impact of economic deprivation.
An Empirical Examination
of the Anomie Theory of Drug Use. - Dull, R. Thomas
Abstract: Investigated the relationship between anomie theory, as measured by Srole's
Anomie Scale, and self-admitted drug use in an adult population. Bivariate
cross-comparison correlations indicated anomie was significantly correlated with several
drug variables, but these associations were extremely weak and of little explanatory
Institutional anomie and
societal variations in crime: a critical appraisal, Jensen G.
Messner and Rosenfeld proposed an institutional anomie theory of crime.
From Anomie to Anomia
and Anomic Depression: A Sociological Critique on the Use of Anomie in Psychiatric
Research, Mathieu Deflem
Abstract: The author demonstrates that the sociological concept of anomie has undergone
important transformations when applied in psychiatric research. It is argued that these
transformations are not fully in concordance with the original theories of anomie as they
were set forth by Durkheim and Merton.
Anomie Theory - A Microlevel Examination Connecting Culture, Institutions, and
Deviance - Lisa R. Mufti, North Dakota State University
Institutional anomie theory contends that crime can be explained by an examination of
American society. Results related to the hypothesis that American students, relative to
foreign-born students, will have an increased adherence to economic goal orientations that
increase cheating behaviors are presented, as are suggestions for future studies.
SOCIAL ANOMIE AND PROTESTANT GROWTH IN LATIN AMERICA
A CROSS-NATIONAL ANALYSIS - Anthony Gill
The explanation for this phenomenon has been a variant of 'social anomie' theory that
focuses on changes in social demand for religion. This analysis suggests that secularization is a function of government policy.
MERTON: CONTINUITIES IN THE THEORY OF ANOMIE-AND-OPPORTUNITY-STRUCTURE
Sanjay Marwah, George Mason University and Mathieu Deflem
This paper argues that a visionary sociological paradigm of
anomie-and-opportunity-structures underlies Mertons contribution. We argue that
future research should identify, examine, and test differentiated aspects of the