Anomie Theory Book Review Essay Examples & Outline

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Anomie Theory Book Review

The anomie theory starts by explain that there are some aspects of deviant behavior that cannot be explained using biology. The focus of the book was not on the different deviates in the individuals (Akers & Sellers, 2009). However, Merton was more concerned with the rates of deviance and the associated differences in the societies and different subgroups of the society. The development of the theory is founded within the functionalism approach, which emphasizes on the importance of culture as a unifying aspect.

Anomie is a situation of breakup of the tenets of the culture due to the development of cultural change. Merton applied some change in the concept by referring to situation whereby there is no fit between the cultural norms and the construct of success in life. The cultural norms are the means of attaining the goals or the success in life (Akers & Sellers, 2009).


Merton’s formulation of the anomie is the explanation of the high rates of the deviant behavior in the United States compared to the rest of the societies in the world. It is also the explanation behind the distribution of the deviant behavior in the groups of people in the community according to the race, class race and other criteria for social stratification. The polar example given is that of the success goals in the society being defined using the monetary terms as the principal terms (Akers & Sellers, 2009).

They are emphasized in the culture and epitomized. Therefore, the members of the society is the successful attainment of the goals. The means to the end are all the approaches that are used in the attainment of the goal. Therefore, the definition of the society’s goals and the means that are needed for their attainment is the foundation of the behavior. There smaller and minority groups seek the dreams or the goals as defined using any my means possible hence the end justifies the means terming (Akers & Sellers, 2009).


What are the causes of deviance in the society?
What are the inconsistencies in deviance behavior among different social groups?
What is the role of deviant behavior in the commitment of crime?
Is the end justifies the means approach a justification for the assumption of criminal behavior and how?


Akers, R., & Sellers, C. (2009). Criminological theories. New York: Oxford University Press.