Blog #5: Robert Merton and Anomie

Robert Merton’s theory of Anomie is a “social instability caused by a wearing away of standards and ethics questions whether social structure cause deviance”. In other words, anomie pinpoints the causes of deviance among its goals and values. The theory of Anomie revolves around the idea of social groups because Merton suggests that individuals from the lower social class encountered more deviant adaptions because they had limited opportunities. Merton’s theory of Anomie has five modes of adaptions which are Conformity, Innovation, Ritualism, Retreatism, and Rebellion. Conformity is to conform to goals and mean and avoid becoming a deviant. In other word, this mode of adaptation means accepting society goals and obeying the rules. Innovation is to strive toward prescribed goals, but using illegal means to achieve those goals. Retreatism is rejecting both goals and means, withdraw emotionally, socially. Rebellion refers to the role behavior of political deviants, who attempt to transform the existing structure of society. In other words, using existing means to construct new goals in order to create social change. Merton’s theory shows a relationship between social structures and crime and how it influences a certain person to deviate.


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