anomie


anomie
anomic /euh nom"ik/, adj.
/an"euh mee'/, n. Sociol.
a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values, as in the case of uprooted people.
Also, anomy.
[1930-35; < F < Gk anomía lawlessness. See A-6, -NOMY]

* * *

In the social sciences, a condition of social instability or personal unrest resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose or ideals.

The term was introduced in 1897 by Émile Durkheim, who believed that one type of suicide (anomic) resulted from the breakdown of social standards that people need and use to regulate their behavior. Robert K. Merton studied the causes of anomie in the U.S., finding it severest in persons who lack acceptable means of achieving their cultural goals. Delinquency, crime, and suicide are often reactions to anomie. See also alienation.

* * *

also spelled  anomy  

      in societies or individuals, a condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose or ideals.

      The term was introduced by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim (Durkheim, Émile) in his study of suicide. He believed that one type of suicide (anomic) resulted from the breakdown of the social standards necessary for regulating behaviour. When a social system is in a state of anomie, common values and common meanings are no longer understood or accepted, and new values and meanings have not developed. According to Durkheim, such a society produces, in many of its members, psychological states characterized by a sense of futility, lack of purpose, and emotional emptiness and despair. Striving is considered useless, because there is no accepted definition of what is desirable.

      American sociologist Robert K. Merton (Merton, Robert K.) 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. Greater emphasis on ends rather than means creates a stress that leads to a breakdown in the regulatory structure—i.e., anomie. If, for example, a society impelled its members to acquire wealth yet offered inadequate means for them to do so, the strain would cause many people to violate norms. The only regulating agencies would be the desire for personal advantage and the fear of punishment. Social behaviour would thus become unpredictable. 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.

      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. Individuals may feel that community leaders are indifferent to their needs, that society is basically unpredictable and lacking order, and that goals are not being realized. They may have a sense of futility and a conviction that associates are not dependable sources of support.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ANOMIE — Le concept d’anomie forgé par Durkheim est un des plus importants de la théorie sociologique. Il caractérise la situation où se trouvent les individus lorsque les règles sociales qui guident leurs conduites et leurs aspirations perdent leur… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Anomie — Anomie, in contemporary English language is a sociological term that signifies in individuals, an erosion, diminution or absence of personal norms, standards or values, and increased states of psychological normlessness. When applied to a… …   Wikipedia

  • Anomie — (griech.: Kompositum aus α privativum zur Verneinung und der Endung nomie für νόμος = „Ordnung, Gesetz“) bezeichnet in der Soziologie einen Zustand fehlender oder schwacher sozialer Normen, Regeln und Ordnung. Vor allem in England war der Begriff …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • anomie — anomie, anomy An absence, breakdown, confusion, or conflict in the norms of a society. The term anomia is scattered throughout classical Greek writings, where it may be linked to the adjective anomos, meaning ‘without law’. It has since assumed a …   Dictionary of sociology

  • anomie — ANOMÍE s.f. (Rar) Dezordine, dezorganizare (într o societate dată); p. ext. haos. – Din fr. anomie. Trimis de ana zecheru, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  anomíe s. f., art. anomía, g. d. art. anomíei; pl. anomíi …   Dicționar Român

  • Anŏmie — (v. gr.), Gesetzlosigkeit. Daher anomisch, gesetzlos …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Anomie — Anomie, Gesetzlosigkeit …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • anomie — (n.) absence of accepted social values, 1933, from Durkheim s Suicide (1897), a reborrowing with French spelling of ANOMY (Cf. anomy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • anomie — (also anomy) ► NOUN ▪ lack of the usual social or moral standards. ORIGIN French, from Greek anomos lawless …   English terms dictionary

  • anomie — or anomy [an′ə mē] n. [Fr < Gr anomia, lawlessness < a , without + nomos, law: see NOMY] lack of purpose, identity, or ethical values in a person or in a society; rootlessness anomic [ə näm′ik] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Anomie — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Anomie (genre). L’anomie (du grec ἀνομία / anomía, du préfixe ἀ a « absence de » et νόμος / nómos « loi, ordre, structure ») est l état d une société caractérisée par une désintégration des… …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.