Social Structure and Anomie

Robert Merton spoke about young people and their way of surviving in society. He mentioned about the emotional effect of not having a job for a certain period of time. It is sad to learn how young people would resolve to getting anti-depressant, suffer from panic attack, insomnia, commit suicide or becoming suicidal, hurt themselves, not able to control anger or do drugs.
Social structure can be so demanding that a person would resolve to deviant behavior. Most time people feel out of place and I think it because of inequality or the way social structure is divided. When the demand is high and the tool is not provided it is not easy and resolve to means that are not necessarily acceptable but deviant.
When we are part of an environment that is competitive especially in the American society as mentioned by Merton “the end justifies the means” I know a couple that the husband and the wife lost their job and they have a son and a house. They both worked for Hostess. The husband started to drink as he was not able to deal with the situation. He was withdrawn and about to lose his house and the more the bills were piling the more he was drinking. According to Merton this man as resolved to Retreatism. he was thinking that drinking would take away the problem. It is a also a lack of self esteem.
There are many who are going through these type of pressure. Some are able to just survive and comform or adapt to whatever the norms are as long as they surviving while they may try to go back to school get an education to get a better job. In a sense they adapting through comformity and Rituals. I guess it is better to be innovative then to commit criminal act and not follow rules.
Merton also refers to a last category describe as rebellious which are those who do not follow any rules.
That is the reason why I do encourage the young people of this society to go to school and finish. It is not guarantee that they will get a good job but the possibilities are greater.


2 responses to “Social Structure and Anomie

  1. This is on point! People need social structure in their life because when an individual goes day by day without a job or a mediocre job most of the time the individual ends up unhappy thus relying on something that will help temporarily which never helps in the long run. I agree that students should go to school however not so much go to college and finish. If the individual knows what they want and works at it to get there or even achieve more then that is an accomplishment as well.

  2. Merton gave great insight into Anomie. His conclusion that lack of opportunity + stress of financial success+egalitarian ideology=anomie. With this anomie comes psychological distress such as anxiety and depression. How can one cope in a constructive way? Should one suffer in silence?

    And while going to school and finishing is a great accomplishment that many hold dear, there are plenty of other ways to success that one can take, the notion that america is a meritocracy and that a degree is an IOU from the world that you are guaranteed a job/career somewhere is something that we may have touched on earlier in the semester. One can be successful, in their own right, if they decide to take another route whether through apprenticeship or residency. I would say that being a well learned person is important, so what ever field one decides to enter, whether it be business, artistry, film, scientific research, it is important that they engage in self learning in order to be innovative and able to contribute to the future advances in their field. Self learning is possible in the age of technology, free online classes, and libraries (or whatever ones we have left, lol).

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