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Anomie Theory

In: Social Issues

Submitted By lbonnell95
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The anomie theory began to appear around 1893. The term was first introduced by Emile Durkeheim to explain “deregulation” occurring in society. Robert K. Merton took some of Durkeheim’s ideas, but his idea was that an anomie occurs when the social system is unable to maintain control through a use of societal norms. These norms were described as the societal goals and the approved means to attain those goals. Depending on the different combination of whether a person does/does not follow the goals and/or means, they would be classified into one of five different categories. The five types of people Merton believed to exist was: conformist, innovator, ritualist, retreatist, and rebellionist. The first category is the conformist. According to Merton, most people follow this path. To be considered a conformist, one must seek to achieve the societal goals by the accepted societal means. An example of conforming behavior would be a person focusing on obtaining and maintaining a typical 9-5 job. Those who have no issues when it comes to obtaining the means to obtain goals are considered “real” conformists. The second category is the innovator. This category is the most common of the four deviant types. To be considered an innovator, one must seek to achieve the societal goals, but one would replace the accepted means with not approved means. An example of innovative behavior would be instead of a student taking time and studying to get an “A”, they cheat by looking at a neighbor’s test and gets the same “A”. A way to dissuade people from taking the innovative route is to impart more negative consequences for being deviant. Make it so the consequence of avoiding the appropriate means are worse than the results of achieving the goal in a deviant way. The third category is the ritualist. This category is also seen as bureaucratic behavior. To be considered a…...

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