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SOC101Y1 (470)
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Chapter 5

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Candice K

Chapter 5 AnomieIntroductionConcept of anomie was devised by Durkheim revised my Merton and criticised by many others Anomie is a psychological state of confusion and disorientation due to insufficient regulation in society also seen as a characteristic of society particularly under capitalism According to Durkheim anomie as a condition of society occurs as the society transforms from agrarian to industrial state It remains a strong way to situate deviance in society as a response of the individual to the structural conditions within society Thus anomie helps explain the dissatisfaction of individuals in the modern western and capitalist societyIt was derived from functionalism Just like functionalism anomie has become a routine conceptual folly to be demolished before someone moves to a more rewarding groundRobert Mertons version of anomic theory fierce critical onslaughtDurkheims theory however has received a more sympathetic treatment mainly because Durkheim is a central figure in sociological history and anomie is a central concept of his thought According to Lukes and Hortom Durkheims theory of anomie is a philosophical critique of capitalist society in relation to which Mertons theory is at best confused and at worst dehumanized Strengths of anomic theory1 analysis of a key feature of capitalist society ie material consumption 2 a metatheory that is applicable to societies other than capitalist 3 the capacity to explain the conditions that may cause social breakdownMuch of the anomic theory was not fully developed but it has evolved as one of the most ambitious attempts to explain deviance and has reincarnated again and againDurkheims theory of anomie Durkheim discussed two distinct usages of anomie The Division of labour in society characterizes the pathological state of the economy the sphere of collective life that is free from the moderating action of regulations where the state of war is necessarily chronic and where each individual finds himself in a state of war with each otherSuicide on the other hand is used to characterize the pathological mental state of an individual who is
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