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SOCY 275
Vincent F Sacco

AnomieAnomiethe absence if rules But what it really means is the inability of rules to control people The absence of the moral suasion of rulesCharacteristic of society and social structure Sometimes is confused anomiaA psychological reflection of the social structural condition The origins of anomie theory The work of Emile DurkheimAnomie in The Division of Labour in SocietyAnomie in Suicide In suicide Durkheim discuss the term anomie in reference to a term that happens under organic distribution Mechanic solidarity Durkheim postulates that there are 4 types of suicide he sees it as the product as the extreme elements of two different sociological dimensionA dimension if integrationA dimension of regulation Regulation is actually good for us we need it because most of the things we desire in life are like social appetites we want all kinds of things from all aspects of society and there is no natural limit to how much we wantThere must be rules to regulate the things we seeks and the things we actually achieve Rules keep us stable and on a path The problem with saying people commit suicide when the economy crashes it that the number also rises when the economy rises So the problem isnt the economic drop or gain it is the change and the inconsistency Anomic suicide also how the rates of suicide seem to vary based off the degree of normative control they are subject to The Contributions of Robert Merton Social Structure and Anomie He discusses the neighbourhood he lived in despite not having a lot of money his neighbourhood provided him with all the types of capitals he needs Change his name to King Merton the magician He starts to think about the problems in society and the difference that could be made in the world He was different because of the European influence and looked at how society was organized and how it creates certain influences regarding how society is organized He writes a paper where he lays out a general interpretation of what sociology is For Merton Strain resulted from the interplay of three elementsHe starts with an empirical observation Why is it that all the rates related to deviance have a sort of inverse relationship to social class What is it about the way we have organized our relationships with each other that seem to create a pressure among the people at the bottom of the structure to cause them to be more deviant Thee are 3 main pressures1 Cultural goals2 The institutionalized mans of goal attainment3 The actual distribution of the means of goal attainmentCultural goals especially the goals of successEvery society can be described as having a certain amount and types of goalsAmerica places overriding pressure on successIn other countered there were limitations to goals and means based on class in American anyone can be successful When we look at the American case and cultural goals we realize that some people are more important that others The institutionalized means of goal attainmentespecially inherited wealth and education The actual distribution of the means of foal attainmentThis is not part of culture but social structure The way in which means are distributed in society is disproportionate for people not everyone has equal chances There are a lot of people mainly at the bottom of the class structure do not have equal opportunity This is an anomic social structure the goals and the means are not aligned with each other It is a difference in means not a difference in goals This is what creates a problem for people he thinks of deviance as a form of problem solving Merton argued that it is useful to think about deviance as a kind of problem solving behaviour People explore deviant solutions when society present them with problems for which conformist solutions are not available For Merton theses problems are most acute in the lower social classes because it is there that people are most likely to experience the disjuncture between the things they aspire to and things which are actually available to them Such circumstance creates a social condition known as anomie Mertons use of the term was intended to describe the state of affairs in which people become alienated from the normative structure such that they no longer feel bound by the rules that normally regulate action Any thing that is directed towards the same goal as the conformist Conformist Most people accept as legitimate the culturally approved ways of achieving legitimately the culturally approved goalsIn Mertons example most of us strive for material success by working hard trying to get a good education etcInnovation The bank robber drug dealer or white collar thief seekssuccess too but rejects the conventional means for achieving that successRitualism are the people who are really just going through the motions they will hang around all day so that they can get to that class and than the get to that class and screw around for the hour people who are here but are not really there Retreatism people who are on campus but they never go to class they are not connected to anything other than some pleasurable and fun activities Rebellion is a sort of rejection of the system actively working to change the goals medium The sociological character of Mertons Analysisa The central concepts anomie cultural goals means etc are to characteristics of people but characteristics of societies He builds his arguments on social structure not the individualb Merton asks us to make no assumptions about the psychological or biological properties of people Look at people as perfectly normal and make no assumptions of people beyond thatc The question to which Merton addresses his analysis is very sociological in natureHis questions do not have psychological answers they are purely sociological questionsIn the chart He is not talking about types of people he is talking about types of behaviours Critics have saidThe theory does not do a very good job of explaining why people near the top of the class structure engage in high levels of corporate and professional crime At the same time people were looking into whitecollar crime and anomie doesnt say much about it because it doesnt see it as a big problem Most people who lack access to the legitimate means to cultural goals are not criminal
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