Discerning Anomie and social Disorganization Theories


DiscerningAnomie and social Disorganization Theories

DiscerningAnomie and social Disorganization Theories

Anomierefers to the state of total lack of orderliness within our societalsystems, which theorists refer to as the crime factory within ourcommunity. This is in relation to the acknowledgement that, anorderly society strikes a balance between the set goals and the meansto achieving them without infringing other people’s rights. It ismostly associated with lack of proper linkage between the attainmentof the valued societal goals and an acceptable social means toachieving the same. Social disorganization on the other hand involvesperception of life as circular zones and analyzes each zone as perthe social class with regard to the inner zone being the mostproblematic. Research has shown that cities are too vast and diverseto facilitate close and permanent inter-personal relationships acrossindividuals. According toBrowning, (2002)this weakness in creation of social relations is the root cause ofsocial disorganization.

Accordingto Stamatel,(2009)prior to the Chicago school of thinkers there existed a common notionthat criminal behavior were passed on genetically for generations.These theorists started exploring crime cause as being the socialdisorientation and disorganization. This gave rise to the theory ofsocial disorganization which states that most urban cities consist oflayers with the inner most one being the least desirable and theouter being the most habitable(Browning, 2002). Both of these theories pin point the fact that crime is not agenetically transferable trait as perceived earlier on. They pointout to the fact that other factors such as social formation as wellas economic formation are the primary cause of high crime rates withthe remedy being bringing order to our community both socially andeconomically. These theories provide a broad spectrum upon whichcriminologists get to analyze the causes of crime and how to avertthe same in the future.


Boththeories point out at the society rather than an individual’s traitis the root cause of the crime in our modern society. On the same,there exist dissimilar beliefs that to overcome the crime challenges,the society need to first fix the societal problems that exist in ourcommunities and establish a new social structure. According toStamatel, (2009)society has strong perception and respect for cultural goals and aconventional means of attaining the latter. The emphasis on achievingthe set goals and the socially perceived success version, consideringthe diversity of the impending societal circumstances in relation tothe nature of the means normally leads to the crime. This againenjoins the two theories to be regarded as consensus-based thoughfrom a diverse perspective. In both theories again, the conclusionsare drawn from extensive research work leading to a common conclusionthat crime is more often caused by certain natures of deprivation(Stamatel,2009).

Forinstance, the anomie theory brings out a case of overly emphasizedgoals and reality tensions which bring together their crimeco-relativity. The lower social-economic individuals have the beliefthat the greatest achievements are only attainable by those who areprivileged thus considering themselves deprived. This causes someforms of strains in attaining the over-emphasized goals legally, thusforcing them to turn to crime as a means to an endCullen, Parboteeah &amp Hoegl, 2004).This is similar in a case focused through social disorganization. Forinstance looking at the city zones as explained in the socialdisorganization theory, each of the zones is examined in relation toits potential to cause deviance. The inner zone is considered to bethe most crime prone since there exist the highest level of socialdeprivation which pushes the dwellers to seek means and ways ofescaping their challenging social standing.

Assome of these residents migrate to other outer zones, their desire tosucceed leads them to commit crime thus raising the crime level inthe surrounding zones (Browning,2002).Boththeories again agree on the fact that crime or crime related behaviorcannot be fully and singly associated with an individual(Stamatel, 2009).They also agree that the deviance cannot be associated with anygovernment, religion or traditional practices, though these areelements that may in one way or another be associated with thecreation of the existing deviant behavior. Both theories haveinconclusive conclusions in the sense that social disorganizationdoes not explain if all zones can be crime free should there be arestriction in the movement of immigrants. The anomie theory too doesnot explain the positive goals hat should be embraced and planted inthe society.


Thoughthere exist a great deal of similarity between the anomie and thesocial disorganization theories on the belief that deviant behavioris a direct by product of amoral society, the two fail to agree onthe societal aspect which is the main cause of delinquency (Atlas, 2013).Whereas anomie shift the blame of the societal decadence solely ongreed and over-emphasized American dreams, the social disorganizationblames the immigration and the ever growing population in the urbancentre. For instance, since the independence attainment in the UnitedStates of America, there has been a very strong notion of freedomsand fundamental rights irrespective of how unusual they may seem(Cullen,Parboteeah &amp Hoegl, 2004).

Thelatter led to millions of immigrants flowing to the United States ofAmerica with the hope of overcoming their social and economicallimitations and achieve great fetes in life. These people came from adiverse social-economic background but shared a common goal ofaccumulating immense wealth and that wealth was to be sought at allcost (Cullen,Parboteeah &amp Hoegl, 2004).Consequently, all Americans irrespective of their cultural upbringingshared a common goal of accumulating immense wealth as a way ofmeasuring ones achievements.

Anomietheorists describe a deviant as anyone who is opposed to the idea ofwhat is universally agreeable to be most desirable and is as a resultconsidered a rebel (Cullen,Parboteeah &amp Hoegl, 2004).Those who fail to achieve the standard goals are regarded as failuresand to overcome the latter, one indulges in deviant behavior tobridge the gap. On the contrary, pro social disorganization theoryare of the idea that nobody enjoys or can enjoy life in the innermostzone, thus the far you are from them the safer one is both sociallyand economically(Browning, 2002).

Thosein the innermost zones strive so much to move out to the outer zones.Consequently, they may at times get involved in deviance behavior toachieve the standard success to get them out of their social-economicchallenges. The two theories have however made significance changesin the world of criminology. They have changed the perspective uponwhich criminologists perceive individuals as the sole causes of crimeand gave them a new perspective of embracing reality that society isthe root cause of the societal evil.


Atlas,R. I. (2013).&nbsp21stcentury security and CPTED: Designing for critical infrastructure protection and crime prevention.CRC Press.

Browning,C. R. (2002). The span of collective efficacy: Extending socialdisorganization theory to partner violence.&nbspJournalof Marriage and Family,64(4),833-850.

Cullen,J. B., Parboteeah, K. P., &amp Hoegl, M. (2004). Cross-nationaldifferences in managers` willingness to justify ethically suspectbehaviors: A test of institutional anomie theory.&nbspAcademyof Management Journal,&nbsp47(3),411-421.

Stamatel,J. P. (2009). Contributions of cross-national research to criminologyat the beginning of the 21st century. In&nbspHandbookon crime and deviance&nbsp(pp.3-22). Springer New York.