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Anomie: Change from 'Within' or Change from 'Without'?

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by Rachel Liebert on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of Anomie: Change from 'Within' or Change from 'Without'?

THE ANOMIE PERSPECTIVE Deviance arises from "anomie" Durkheim: "State of normlessness" Transition from "traditional" to "modern" society
Transition from religion/community to science/economic pursuits
Transition from "mechanical" to "organic" solidarity Insatiable human greed/desires
("An inextinguishable thirst")
Usually contained by society Suicide (deviance) arose from aspirations being channeled into four types of norms:
Egotistic
Altruistic
Fatalistic
Anomie Merton: "A socially structured contradiction between normative aspirations and the lack of available means for legitimatively attaining valued cultural goals" Aspirations are culturally inscribed/everyone exposed to the same goals of success e.g., via the "American Dream" Five ways that individuals adapt to Anomie, depending on their acceptance of the cultural goals, and their access to means to achieve them:
1. Conformity
2. Innovation
3. Ritualism
4. Retreatism
5. Rebellion Cloward: Different opportunities for illegitimate means, depending on "subculture":
Criminal
Conflict
Retreatist Cohen: Need to take into account the "interactional dynamics" (influence of structures, development over time, people) STUDIES
Ahistorical
Relied on official statistics that deployed unchecked assumptions and stereotypes and were collected for political purposes
"Followed the money" as heightened government interest in Sociology with the rise in the Welfare State SOCIAL CONTROL Durkheim:
Education/Sociology to create new secular moral order Merton:
Reduce aspirations, OR improve opportunities Cloward and Ohlin:
Henry Street Settlement "Youth Mobilization Project"
1960s
Action research to improve minority youth access to employment, and develop community organizing
"Too radical and not radical enough" Potential for uprising of the poor, led to accusations that the project was for "commies and commie sympathizers" Changing social conditions required changing the lives of those in power/funders CRITIQUE
Does not take into account diversity of cultural goals
"Critical" without challenging the social structures
(capitalism, patriarchy, eurocentrism, NEOLIBERALISM, etc) So, raises some interesting questions about the politics of social change e.g. about making change from "the inside", versus "the outside"...? Hip hop Slut-walk Affirmative action Like what?? Who was Merton?? Who was Durkheim?? Other ideas?
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