What is society? Maybe all of us know it. But it is not easy to define this word. In practice, generally, it means a group of people who share a common culture, occupy a particular territorial area and feel themselves to constitute a unified and distinct entity. We all live in societies, sometimes it is the same society, sometimes not. But they are all interrelated and interact with each other. Society tries to make progress all the time, but industrial society tends to produce anomie because of the rapid social change. Anomie means the breakdown of norms in society. In my opinion, anomie is dysfunctional for society and not a force for liberation.
Generally speaking, anomie occurs during periods of social upheaval or transition. According to Durkheim’s theory, there are two kinds of solidarity: mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity. In pre-industrial societies (small-scale traditional societies) where relationships are personal and there is a limited division of labour. It is easy to get the collective conscience and normal regulations. However, in industrial societies, there is an extensive division of labour and the relationships are often highly impersonal. When in the transition from the mechanical solidarity to the organic solidarity, a breakdown in social consensus and social controls over the individual is highly possible. Anomie destroys not only traditional communities but also the very moral fabric of society. For example, since the late nineteenth century, both political revolutions and industrialization swept across Europe because of the unlimited desires. On the other hand, anomie is characterized by the rates of suicide, marital break-up and industrial conflict. When an object inhibits the working of the whole system or a part of the system, it is dysfunction. So anomie is dysfunctional for the development of the society.
Anomie is not a force for liberation. Liberation means an act or process of trying to achieve the equal rights and status. When the liberation occurs, it denotes that the ideology and consciousness of people are improved. It is propitious to the development of society. But when the anomie occurs, it means the social controls are weak and the regulations are not strong enough to function effectively. It is the dangerous time. For example, in modern America, there is a lack of fit between the unlimited ambitions of all young people and the limited opportunities for achieving wealth and fame. But a part of them can be successful. What about the others? In a society of moral standards declining, in order to satisfy their desire, people may crime to dacoity. So anomie causes a lot of problems and it threats social advancement. So anomie is not a force for liberation.
But when anomie occurs, it warns people that the regulation and normal governing are not strong enough, it is a choice to resurvey the whole society.
To my mind, anomie is dysfunctional for society and it could not be a force for liberation. And high rates of suicide and crime that caused by anomie inhibit social development.