Anomie: Introduction, Durkheim, Merton, and Four Deviant Responses to Strain

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  • Social condition
  • Normlessness
  • Norms are weak, conflicting, or absent
  • Societies become disorganized
  • Strain theory
  • When a gap exists between cultural goals and the ability to achieve them by legitimate means


  • Nominal rate of crime is a normal social fact
  • Functional
  • Abnormal – rates are high
  • High deviance
  • If not checked turns to anomie


  • When Conformity is more normal society
  • When Deviance is more Anomie
  • Conformists should always outnumber deviants for a normal society

Four Deviant Responses to Strain

  • Innovation - use of illegal means to achieve goal - robbery
  • Ritualism - goal rejected – faith in the process
  • Retreatism - both means and goals are rejected
  • Rebellion - new set of goals and means are substituted

Chronological Order

Chronological Order

Chronological order if disturbed, leads to anomie

Chronological Order

Alienation vs Anomie

Alienation vs Anomie


Q. 1. The condition of the rejection of the ‘goals’ and acceptance of ‘means’ in the Merton՚s modes of adaption is called

a. Conformity

b. Innovation

c. Retreatism

d. Ritualism

Ans: d

Q. 2. Which of the following is not correctly matched?

a. Goal and Means- Robert Merton

b. Differential Opportunity Structure- Cloward and Ohlin

c. Ecological theory – Park and Burgess

d. Anomie- Bonger

Ans: b