Thursday, January 8, 2009

Anomic Suicides?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anomie, in contemporary English language is a sociological term that signifies in individuals an erosion, diminution or absence of personal norms, standards or values, and increased states of psychological normlessness. When applied to a government or society, anomie implies a social unrest.

Émile Durkheim described anomie as a state of relative normlessness or a state in which norms have been eroded. A norm is an expectation of how people will behave, and it takes the form of a rule that is socially rather than formally enforced. Thus, in structural functionalist theory, whether at a personal or societal level, the effect of normlessness is to introduce alienation, isolation, and desocialisation as norms become less binding for individuals. Individuals thus lose the sense of what is right and wrong.

The topic of anomie piques my interest.I learned about it reading up on sociology and went to the source-Emile Durkheim. I learned of Durkheim from reading the works of Alfred Adler.I actually found an English translation on the web of Durkheim's "Suicide".
Being generally inquisitive,digging sociology,having goth sensibilities about death,and having experience with suicide made reading the book a no-brainer. It was long and full of social theories either defunct,debunked,or proven since its publishing.
That introduced me to Strain Theory and others that hope to explain criminality and victimization in society.I went back and looked on wikipedia.To be honest,I remember little details at this point,but I have thought of anomie as a concept quite often in the past eight years.Especially how the concept relates to anarchy and failed states.When most people say anarchy in law/politics they actually mean anomie.As illustrated in this fine short:

from Wikipedia:
Anomic suicide: Anomie is a state in which there is weak social regulation between the society's norms and the individual, most often brought on by dramatic changes in economic and/or social circumstances. This type of suicide happens when the social norms and laws governing the society do not correspond with the life goals of the individual. Since the individual does not identify with the norms of the society, suicide seems to be a way to escape them. Examples include the spike in suicide rates during the Great Depression .
I beleive the Bush Administartion was a force of anomie in the world. How many countries have been destabilized or turned into failed states by W? Off the top of my head I can think of Afghanistan(wasn't stable to start with),Iraq,Pakistan, Palestine,Georgia,Somalia(same as Afgan.),Haiti. Look at the chaos in the Middle East and the slim chances for a 2 state solution between Israel/Palestine gone. State-less terrorists like Al-Qaeda are thriving. Countless are dead in pointless wars. All our institutions have been shown to be corrupt.Politicians line their
pockets and ignore their voters with open contempt. Politics is seen as unable to solve problems and government THE PROBLEM. Violence and greed rule. The Earth is dying and people see little hope for the future.
The American Dream is a cruel unobtainable hoax. Our leaders refuse to obey the law and promote lawlessness worldwide. A White Collar criminal class is above the law and steals from us openly.The law only applies to the middle class and poor.Torture is legal and dissent is illegal.The Free Market is Santa for grownups,pretending in front of us thats real.Economists are grasping at straws as economies crash. The chaos is catching up and anomie is rising.

From Wikipedia:In criminology, the strain theory states that social structures within society may encourage citizens to commit crime. Following on the work of Émile Durkheim, Strain Theories have been advanced by Merton (1938), Cohen (1955), Cloward and Ohlin (1960), Agnew (1992), and Messner and Rosenfeld (1994). Strain may be either:

Nick Turse posted on In These Times:
In recent weeks, the media has begun to address the burgeoning body count, at least anecdotally. Suicide is, however, just one type of extreme act that has resulted from the financial crisis, and the attendant rise in foreclosures. Stories of resistance to eviction, arson, self-inflicted injury and murder have also bubbled up into the local news. Nationally, the media has paid scant attention to the pattern of these events.

full article:

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