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Anomie Durkheim and Merton The classical theoristsMarx Weber Durkheimreflect on the dark side of modern life Modernity had profoundly changed the way people lived and the way society was organized Modernity sees the emergence of the middle class it is a time when fewer and fewer of the privileged could relax as more and more of the disadvantaged could speak Lemert p15 In the name of progress modernity promising a better world tomorrow brings destructiondestruction of the old family and small town values Lemert p27 So there is an ambiguity the benefits of modern life are not real yet while the familiar traditional life is destroyed While some others like Spencer saw modernity as a beneficent necessity a one way street to a better world Durkheim told the story of the 2 sides of modernity the official story of progress and the good society and the repressed story of destruction loss terror of life without meaningful traditions Lemert p28 In Anomie and the Modern Division of Labor Durkheim introduces the concept of anomie that comes with the rise of modern society Modernization is marked by an increasing division of labor a specialized economic activity By becoming different from each other through their work individuals become more different in their lives hence a diminution of the collective conscience and the collective constraint Individualism replaces the collective conscience The result is that all this sphere of collective life is in large part freed from the moderating action of regulation p78 He argues that with the division of labor the economic function becomes preponderant and that the administrative military and religious functions become less important p79 Because the economic world is characterized by an absence of moral laws and because individuals tend to spend the greatest part of their existence within that sphere Durkheim argues that the absence of all economic discipline cannot fail to extend its effect beyond the economic world and consequently weaken public morality
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