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Soc 3310 Winter 2001 Take Home Final

5010 words - 20 pages

Sociological Theory from Durkheim to Weber and Mead and Hall

Sociological Theory/SOC-3310
Winter 2001
Take-home Final

Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Mead, Stuart Hall


1) According to Durkheim, what produces anomie in society? (10)

Durkheim focuses on the stability of society, and discusses the social causes of suicide. His work shows how ideology contributes to stability, and he describes abnormal conditions as anomie. Durkheim states, "in normal conditions the collective order is regarded as just by the great majority of persons …[b]ut when society is disturbed by some painful crisis or by beneficent but abrupt transitions, it is momentarily incapable of exercising this influence [of limiting desires]"
What this means, is the dysfunctional and unbalanced state the populous mass has when there is rapid change in society, for better of worse. Anomie is the product of transition that leads to the incapability to know what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. This is the consequence of the people's solidarity in society, which suggests that laws benefit everyone to the same degree. Thus, the loss of laws, which is also the loss of limits, causes a loss of comprehension. Anomie, in its literal sense means "a lack of norms", a condition in which society has when society has no norms.
Durkheim refers directly to a state of economic turmoil, which he describes as "juridical and moral anomie in which economic life is actually found" . Juridical and moral anomie is describing the state a society has when there is an absence of laws, or a confusion of laws (juridical), and when the masses feel they have a lack of norms in terms of morality (moral). In order to understand Durkheim, one needs to assert the fact that Durkheim believed that people did not know if they were violating the law or not, for their status was in anomie. He felt tremendous confusion on what the right thing was, and, he saw that the economy was unregulated. It was not established what fairness was between the buyer and the consumer. The economic order had no occupational ethic upon which everyone agrees.
His description of juridical and moral anomie was a conclusion to his reasoning that followed that: "the most blameworthy acts are so often absorbed by success that the boundary between what is permitted and what is prohibited, what is just and what is unjust, has nothing fixed about it" . Modern examples of this statement can be found with the scandal that followed with former President Clinton and his encounter with Monica Lewinsky. His affair seemed to be shadowed by his success in driving an economy and handling his job well. Another example of juridical and moral anomie in today's society could be the deforestation of the rain forest, which has some significant ecological effects, and the wealth that comes from processing the wood. In turns, success forgives the blame. This is what Durkheim felt. He saw that if a society has no regulations, and if...

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