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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Anomie: Selected full-text books and articles

Deviance and Control By 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 By Richard A. Hilbert University of North Carolina Press, 1992
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Anomie"
Control Balance: Toward a General Theory of Deviance By Charles R. Tittle Westview Press, 1995
Librarian's tip: Discussion of anomie begins on p. 72
The Idea of Social Structure: Papers in Honor of Robert K. Merton By Lewis A. Coser Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975
Librarian's tip: Discussion of anomie begins on p. 197
Essential Criminology By 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 By Andrew Oldenquist; Menachem Rosner Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "De-alienation, Dis-anomie, and Durkheim"
Substance Use and Abuse: Sociological Perspectives By Victor N. Shaw Praeger, 2002
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "The Anomie Perspective"
The Myth of Global Chaos By 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
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