anomie, a social condition characterized by instability, the breakdown of social norms, institutional disorganization, and a divorce between socially valid goals and available means for achieving them. Introduced into sociology by Emile Durkheim in his study Suicide (1897), anomie also refers to the psychological condition—of rootlessness, futility, anxiety, and amorality—afflicting individuals who live under such conditions. The importance of anomie as a cause of deviant behavior received further elaboration by Robert K. Merton.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Anomie: Selected full-text books and articles

Deviance and Control
Albert K. Cohen.
Prentice-Hall, 1966
Librarian’s tip: "Introduction to the Anomie Theory" begins on p. 74
The Classical Roots of Ethnomethodology: Durkheim, Weber, and Garfinkel
Richard A. Hilbert.
University of North Carolina Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Anomie"
Control Balance: Toward a General Theory of Deviance
Charles R. Tittle.
Westview Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of anomie begins on p. 72
Durkheim's Suicide: A Century of Research and Debate
W. S. F. Pickering; Geoffrey Walford.
Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of anomie in multiple chapters
Emile Durkheim: Sociologist and Moralist
Stephen P. Turner.
Routledge, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Anomie and Fatalism in Durkheim's Theory of Regulation"
The Idea of Social Structure: Papers in Honor of Robert K. Merton
Lewis A. Coser.
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of anomie begins on p. 197
Essential Criminology
Mark M. Lanier; Stuart Henry.
Westview Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Ten "The Sick Society: Anomie, Strain, and Subcultural Theory"
Alienation, Community, and Work
Andrew Oldenquist; Menachem Rosner.
Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "De-alienation, Dis-anomie, and Durkheim"
Substance Use and Abuse: Sociological Perspectives
Victor N. Shaw.
Praeger, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "The Anomie Perspective"
The Myth of Global Chaos
Yahya Sadowski.
Brookings Institution Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Anomie and Social Violence" and "Do Culture Wars Breed in Anomic Societies?" begins on p. 121
A Critical Dictionary of Sociology
Raymond Boudon; Francois Bourricaud.
Routledge, 1989
Librarian’s tip: "Anomie" begins on p. 34
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