Definitions of Anomie
- (noun) Normlessness or social instability caused by the erosion or absence of morals, norms, standards, and values in a society.
- (noun) A personal state of alienation, anxiety, and purposelessness caused by social instability.
- American English – /An-uh-mee/
- British English – /An-o-mee/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈænəmi/
- British English – /ˈænəʊmi/
- Term popularized by Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) in Suicide (1897).
- Variant spellings:
- Also called:
- anomie theory
- A society experiencing anomie is (adjective) anomic.
- “Anomie, therefore, is a regular and specific factor in causing suicide in our modern societies. It is one of the sources feeding the annual totals. This is a new type that must be distinguished from the others. It differs from them in that it does not depend on the way in which individuals are attached to society, but on the way in which they are regulated by society. Egoistic suicide stems from the fact that men no longer see a reason for living; altruistic suicide comes from the fact that this reason appears to them to lie outside life itself; the third kind of suicide, whose existence we have just established, comes from the fact that their activity is unregulated and they suffer as a consequence. Because of its origin, we shall call this last type ‘anomic suicide'” (Durkheim  2004:81).
- “No society lacks norms governing conduct. But societies do differ in the degree to which folkways, mores and institutional controls are effectively integrated with the goals which stand high in the hierarchy of cultural values. The culture may be such as to lead individuals to center their emotional convictions upon the complex of culturally acclaimed ends, with far less emotional support for prescribed methods of reaching out for these ends. With such differential emphases upon goals and institutional procedures, the latter may be so vitiated by the stress on goals as to have the behavior of many individuals limited only by considerations of technical expediency. In this context, the sole significant question becomes: Which of the available procedures is most efficient in netting the culturally approved value? The technically most effective procedure, whether culturally legitimate or not, becomes typically preferred to institutionally prescribed conduct. As this process of attenuation continues, the society becomes unstable and there develops what Durkheim called ‘anomie’ (normlessness)” (Merton  1968:189).
- Word origin of “anomie” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Adler, Freda, and William S. Laufer. 1995. The Legacy of Anomie Theory. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
- Baumer, Eric P., and Regan Gustafson. 2007. “Social Organization and Instrumental Crime: Assessing the Empirical Validity of Classic and Contemporary Anomie Theories.” Criminology 45(3):617–63. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.2007.00090.x.
- Durkheim, Émile.  2014. The Division of Labor in Society. New York: Free Press.
- Durkheim, Émile.  2006. Suicide. London: Penguin.
- Merton, Robert K. 1938. “Social Structure and Anomie.” American Sociological Review 3(5):672–82. doi:10.2307/2084686.
- Merton, Robert K. 1949. Social Theory and Social Structure. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
- Messner, S. F., and R. Rosenfeld. 2013. Crime and the American Dream. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
- Passas, Nikos, and Robert Agnew. 1997. The Future of Anomie Theory. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
- Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
- Teh, Yik Koon. 2009. “The Best Police Force in the World Will Not Bring Down a High Crime Rate in a Materialistic Society.” International Journal of Police Science and Management 11(1):1–7. doi:10.1350/ijps.2009.11.1.104.
- Waring, E., D. Wesiburd, and E. Chayet. 2000. “White Collar Crime and Anomie.” Pp. 207–77 in The Legacy of Anomie Theory, edited by W. S. Laufer. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Durkheim, Émile.  2004. “Suicide.” in Readings from Emile Durkheim. Rev. ed., edited and translated by K. Thompson. New York: Routledge.
Merton, Robert King.  1968. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bilton, Tony, Kevin Bonnett, Pip Jones, David Skinner, Michelle Stanworth, and Andrew Webster. 1996. Introductory Sociology. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Carrabine, Eamonn, Pam Cox, Maggy Lee, Ken Plummer, and Nigel South. 2009. Criminology: A Sociological Introduction. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: The Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “anomie.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved April 22, 2021 (https://sociologydictionary.org/anomie/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
anomie. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/anomie/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “anomie.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://sociologydictionary.org/anomie/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“anomie.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2021. <https://sociologydictionary.org/anomie/>.