anomie | Definition

anomie

In the field of criminology, anomie refers to a social condition in which there is a breakdown of the norms and values that normally regulate behavior within a society.

This can lead to confusion, uncertainty, and a lack of social cohesion, which can result in increased crime and deviant behavior. The term was popularized by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim, who believed that anomie was a key factor in explaining why some individuals engage in criminal activity. According to Durkheim, anomie arises when there is a gap between an individual’s goals and the means by which they can be achieved, leading to frustration and a lack of direction in life. In criminology, anomie theory is often used to explain why crime rates may be higher in societies undergoing rapid social change or with high levels of inequality.


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