Anomie is a term derived from the French word anomie, which literally translates as “the absence of law and / or organization”. Consequently, anomie in sociology and psychology is understood as such a moral and psychological state of consciousness (both individual and society), during which the value system is destroyed. This disintegration is caused by a social crisis, when it is clearly seen that it is impossible to achieve the goals set, the contradiction between expectation and reality.Anomie is


The concept of anomia was introduced in 1897 by Emile Durkheim, for the first time applying it in his work entitled “Suicide”.

The term is also associated with the ancient Greek ἀνομία, however, also denoting lawlessness, with the particle ἀ meaning “absence, denial, etc.,” and νομία, respectively, “law”.

Anomia is a state of society in which the majority of its members ignore or even deny the norms adopted in it.

The theory of anomie developed not only Durkheim, but Merton and Sroule. For each of the scientists, the concept of “anomie” is slightly different.

According to Durkheim

In his book, “anomie,” Emile Durkheim meant, first of all, a contradiction. That which arises between organic and mechanical solidarity.

What does it mean?

Organic solidarity is the norms (individual or group) created under the influence of the natural. In the course of the development of society as a structure and / or the formation of the individual as such.

Mechanical solidarity, in turn, is inertial norms, and they are generated by industrialized society.

Durkheim himself believed that anomia was the result of the formation of a capitalist society. After all, just at that time, the traditional norms lost their power, and the bourgeois norms did not yet have sufficient influence on society.

By merton

Robert King Merton, developing the theory of the concept introduced by Durkheim, reached the following conclusions.

First, that anomia is the inability to satisfy what most of society needs in the ways that society itself accepts.

Secondly, that the goals not only do not justify the means, but also contradict them.

Thirdly, that the influence of the norms established in society becomes less and less, until it begins to tend to zero.

And fourth, that adaptation to anomia occurs through such life strategies as the adoption of conformism as goals and means, but the rejection of innovation and reformism as a tool for achieving ideas, and as the end results, they are accepted. And vice versa: ritualism can be a means, but it cannot be a goal. Retreatism and revolt are not accepted either as a method (method) for the realization of ideas, or as ideas themselves.

Prior to this, only social anomie was considered, and only Leo Sroul was the first to suggest positioning the term from the point of view of psychology. It was with his light hand that the definition began to include not only the state of society, but also a single individual, among the characteristics of which weakness or absolute destruction of social cohesion, the individual's desire to self-destruction by various physical and moral means.

Factors of development of social anomie

The essence of social anomie is a violation of public order. The following are the factors “due to” which social anomia can develop as a phenomenon:

  • Natural, political, economic or other kind of upheaval, which led to the fact that most of the population has ceased to focus on established norms, rejected the usual status and role in favor of physical survival.
  • Corrosion of values, that is, blurring the boundaries between good and evil, the foundations of the norms of morality. As a result - criticism in the direction of more recently important things, rhetorical questions from society “Are they as important as they were thought?”. The breakdown of social integrity.

Features and effects of anomie

Anomia is a detrimental effect on society and on individuals in it. It alienates one from the other, reduces the whole structure to "no." Desociality, which is one of the features of anomie, leads to the loss of regulation skills of members of society with the help of norms and rules, traditions and attitudes. Relationships and relationships are mandatory conditions for the existence of society, cease to be reproduced and self-replicating, which leads to its unambiguous disintegration. Depending on the degree of anomie penetration into social life, it becomes more difficult to restore its structure.

The manifestation of this process in modern Russia is closely related to the psychological mood of the population and its social condition: instability and uncertainty about the future makes the situation precarious, the alternate domination of attitudes very clearly characterizes the anomie of today. The fragile mismatch is underlined by the inability of the authorities to put in order the connections of social principles.