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What is Anomie | Meaning and Definition

Anomie, also spelled Anomy, is the absence of usual social or moral standards in an individual or group. Anomie refers to behavior outside the norms and values ​​of society. Anomie is said to have arisen in society when non-consensual means are adopted to achieve socially consensual goals. Here the concept of ‘Anomie’ is used to mean anarchy in society due to lack of values ​​and ethics.

What is Anomie

Meaning of the term Anomie

Take any society, that its constituents have certain expectations regarding their mutual roles. Similarly, there are certain expectations about relationships between individuals and groups. Those expectations are based on social cues, norms, ethics, laws which are important elements of social structure.

Social relations are maintained according to them, but sometimes the role expected of the other in certain situations is not fulfilled, at which point the relationship naturally collapses, in fact all cues. Therefore, a kind of vacuum is created in social relations and moral values. This is considered to be the last step in the non-compliant behavior that is reinforced in the society.

At such a time, the process of disintegration of the society becomes stronger due to the separation of the individual and the society. In order to prevent such a situation from happening, the process of exchange of social cues, customs, ethics, conduct, etc. i.e. proper socialization process should continue continuously. Most societies take special precautions against such exchanges because social structure tends to organize society.

Opinion of sociologists

The famous French sociologist Durkheim conceptualized Anomie through the analysis of the individual. He postulated that certain individuals become anomie when the stress of certain situations is too great for them. Also McIver and David Reisman have also discussed Anomie from this point of view.

But Merton conceptualizes Anomie in terms of social conditions. He said that in every society certain goals are recognized. But it is not possible for people at all levels to achieve those goals in a socially acceptable way.

There are also some guidelines, rules and laws on how to achieve the goals. For example, in a society where the acquisition of wealth is considered a worthy goal, there are also certain social cues, norms, laws, etc., regarding the ways to acquire wealth.

Obviously, the objective is not only to achieve the goal, but the goal should be achieved within a certain framework in a way that is acceptable to the society. But some strata of people do not get the opportunities and concessions required to achieve their goals in socially acceptable ways, and due to the ongoing competition in the society, they are motivated to achieve their goals by any means.

They find themselves in the crosshairs of both socially acceptable goals and socially acceptable ways. In such a situation they are likely to turn to anomie and both social goals and cues may be omitted.

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