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Discuss the Differences Between Anomie and Alienation Essay

  • Submitted by: dan175
  • on August 6, 2015
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 1,453 words

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Below is an essay on "Discuss the Differences Between Anomie and Alienation" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Whilst there are clearly a variety of differences between the two theories of anomie and alienation it must also be noted that there are also some similarities to point out. Anomie can be defined simply as a state where norms or expectations on behaviours are confused, unclear or not present at all. Alienation however can be defined as a withdrawing or separation of a person of his affections from an object or position of former attachment. However, the above definitions clearly do not fully explain these two concepts. They are both very complex and in order to understand them fully as well as to be able to compare and contrast they need to be looked at in much greater detail. Of course in order to look at an ideological analysis of anomie and alienation it is important to firstly examine their classical meanings as theorised by Marx and Durkheim.

Both Marx’s alienation and Durkheim’s anomie are similar psychological states and for both were metaphors for a radical attack on the dominant institutions and values of industrial society. They criticise similar behaviour but from different view points with Marx looking more at the problems of power and change compared to Durkheim who looked at the problems of the maintenance of order. A clear similarity to Marx’s alienation and Durkhiem’s anomie is that they both critically describe states of social order from utopian standards. However one of the most notable differences between the two theories is that whilst they describe very similar behaviour and discontents, though from different perspectives, they look at different causes and different solutions. It must however be understood that these classical definitions/theories of anomie and alienation are different from contemporary definitions. In fact it can be argued that time and sociologists have changed or ‘obscured’ the classical meanings of alienation and anomie and instead have formulated and added new ones. These contemporary definitions will be discussed...

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