Sociology Answer Writing Practice - Week 3 - Question 2
90 Days Sociology Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 18-Dec-2017
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18-Dec-2017 - Question 2
Anomie is rooted in social structure . Explain with reference to R.K. Merton s contribution. (2015)
Anomie as a concept propounded by Emile Durkheim who considered it as a product of normlessness. Further, he claimed that deviant behaviour results from pathological personalities. Robert Merton s theory of social structure and anomie seeks to explain deviance. Merton argued that deviance results from the culture and structure of society itself and hence not a product of pathological personalities. He added that all members of society share the same values. However, since members of the society are placed in different positions in the social structure, they do not have the same opportunity of realizing the shared values. This situation generated deviance.
He further advocated that all societies have culturally prescribed goals and the socially structured means (institutionalized) to achieve them. In any balanced society, an equal emphasis is placed upon cultural goals and institutionalized means. Basing his study on American society, Merton claimed that American society is unstable and unbalanced as the great emphasis is attached to success and relatively little importance is given to institutionalized means of achieving success.
Due to differential response of an individual to the situation of Anomie, shaped by their position in the social structure, Merton outlined five possible ways of achieving success goals:
|Response to Anomie||Institutionalized Means||Culturally prescribed Goals||Examples|
|Conformity||+||+||They are not deviants.|
|Innovation||-||+||Members of lower social strata|
|Ritualism||+||-||Members of lower middle class|
|Retreatism||-||-||Drug addicts, Chronic drunkards, Outcasts etc.|
|Members of rising class|
Merton claimed that barring conformist all categories fall in deviance. Thus, Merton through his analysis established a relationship between anomie and social structure which can be empirically tested in other societies.