Anomie – Word of the Day

Anomie – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anomie, in contemporary English, means a condition or malaise in individuals, characterized by an absence or diminution of standards or values.The word comes from Greek, namely the prefix a-: “without”, and nomos: “law”. The Greeks distinguished between “nomos” (νόμος) (law), and “arché” (Αρχή) (starting rule, axiom, principle). For example, a “monarch” is a single ruler but he or she might still be subject to, and not exempt from, the prevailing laws, i.e. nomos; in the original city state “democracy”, the majority rule was an aspect of “arché” because it was a rule-based, customary system which might, or might not, make laws, i.e. “nomos”. Thus, the original meaning of anomie defined anything or anyone against or outside the “law”, or a condition where the current laws were not applied resulting in a state of illegitimacy or lawlessness. The contemporary English understanding of the word anomie can accept greater flexibility in the word “norm”, and some have used the idea of normlessness to reflect a similar situation to the idea of anarchy. But, as used by Émile Durkheim and later theorists, anomie is a reaction against, or a retreat from, the regulatory social controls of society, and is a completely separate concept from a situation of anarchy which is an absence of effective rulers or leaders.


About Dewayne Mikkelson

A technogeek in life and a webdeveloper by profession. Blogging is my favorite sport.
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