Mertons Reactions of Anomie

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Merton’s Reactions of Anomie 1) Introduction In this section of the assignment, anomie will be discussed, as well as Merton's reactions of anomie, namely, conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion. 2) Defining key concepts 2.1) Anomie "Anomie" describes normlessness as a condition of social malaise that occurs when the existing social structure can no longer exercise control over the individual's needs and desires (UNISA Study Guide 2012:84). It is a state where norms are confused, unclear or not present. Anomie thus refers to a breakdown of social norms, and a condition where norms no longer control the activities of members in society([->0] 3) Merton's reactions to anomie 3.1) Conformity Conformity is the most common reaction. Most people are conformists. Peolpe simply accept the status quo and continue their pursuit of success within the constraints of the conventional means available ( Conformists accept the imposed "ultimate" goal of monetary and social success, and attempt to reach it by working diligently and following the predetermined educational and vocational paths. Examples of conformists include university students, as well as "nine-to-five" corporate employees. 3.2) Innovation Innovation is the most common deviant reaction. Innovators persue society's goals, but do not attach any value to the rules or accepted means, simply because society as a whole is unaware of any rules. As far as the potential offender is concerned, innovation may be a more effective means of achieving success than conformity (UNISA Study Guide 2012:89). Merton saw innovation as particularly common among lower classes. They are stigmatised anyway owing to their low skill levels, low pay and
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