Anomie and Alienation

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Alienation for Marx and anomie for Durkheim where metaphors for an extreme attack on the main establishments and values of industrial society. They attacked similar behaviour but from opposing perspectives. For Marx assumed an immanent commencement in the relationship between human beings and society and the value of freedom from constraint; Durkheim a transcendental conception and the value of constraint. Marx was interested in problems of power and change, Durkiem in problems of maintenance and order. Marx's key issue of alienation was class legitimacy of social control, and his key focus was power and social change. The implication of this was the transformation of society whilst Durkheim's key issue was adequacy of social control and the focus was on maintenance of order, this had the implication of moral education for the individual.

Anomie occurs in societies that are disorganized or undergoing change. For example, in the past, religion and family created a structured environment in which everyone had their place in the community. But after a while, political and cultural changes began to occur. These changes were slow, leaving many feeling out of place, experiencing anomie. Results of anomie are increased deviance like suicide and crime. Anomie refers to social control in a social system. Cultural constraints are ineffective; values are conflicting or absent, goals are not adjusted to opportunity structures or individuals are not adequately socialised to cultural orders. Whatever the particular meaning Anomie is normlessness or anarchy. The concept always focuses on the relationship between the individual and constraining forces of social control. Durkheim used rates of deviation and the state of law and punishment as behavioural indices for anomie. Although he tended to avoid physiological definitions, he implies that egotism, unappeasable striving and aimlessness would be the causes of living in an ammonic society.

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