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Anomie is a condition characterized by the relative absence or confusion of values in a society or group. As originally developed by Emile Durkheim this concept referred to a property of the social and cultural structure not to a property of individuals confronting that structure. Anomie involves a breakdown in the cultural structure, occurring particularly when there is an acute disjunction between cultural norms and goals and the socially structured capacities of members of the group to act in accord with them. Anomie is a strict counterpart of the idea of social solidarity.

Just as social solidarity is a state of collective ideological integration, anomie is a state of confusion, insecurity, normlessness.Evidence of anomie may be found in some modern urban slums composed of recent migrants from rural backgrounds who no longer accept their traditional values and norms and who yet remain unassimilated into the social and cultural life of the complex and inhospitable urban community. According to K.Young anomie is a social psychological condition characterized by a similar breakdown in values and a feeling of isolation. It is a result of the high degree of specialization in mass society and that loss of intimacy found in closely knit primary groups.

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