Anomie & Marx: Exploring Social Theory

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1223 Words
Date:  2023-06-07

In regards to sociology, numerous workings and citations have been made by multiple theorists and philosophers on several diverse issues. As such, some of these theories were aimed at understanding human interactivity and how behavior can be influenced not only by presiding factors but also by the environment (Serpa & Ferreira, 2018). Therefore, there is a need to elaborate on such happenings. The article attempts to explain and justify how Emile Durkheim's concept of Anomie and Karl Marx's idea of alienation differs with similarities of modern-day anomie.

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Emile Durkheim's Concept of Anomie

Anomie can be understood as a state in which the community does not lay down proper guidelines on what constitutes morality hence a lack of appropriate ethical standards. Emile Durkheim held that anomie leads to disintegration due to changes of industrialization, social differentiation, and those of labor division (Serpa & Ferreira, 2018). Such emergencies lead to the eradication of older norms; hence no collective view on morality can be held dissolution of proper moral ethics, with resounding consequences leading to increased suicide and crime rates. He maintains that crime is unique, and there exists no society in which social norms are not violated (DiCristina, 2016). He holds that division of labor in communities is the root cause of anomie with excessive crime and suicide rates due to social norms disintegrating.

Karl Marx's Concept of Alienation

To Karl Marx, the concept of alienation is a derivative of capitalism. He holds that capitalism is exploitative and alienating in terms of its consequences on human interaction and production means. Production is a critical economic need for any society; hence necessary measures should be put into place. He states that a capitalist society leads to the segregation of people in which individuals are grouped into two categories that is the haves and the have-nots, and the production of goods and services are privately owned while excluding the importance of labor. He holds that working in a capitalist economy is alienating as it does not advocate for equity amongst people (Leopold, 2018). The alienation is achieved when workers or the labor force are divided from fellow humans through competition in workings. Competition lowers productivity and, therefore, has a consequential effect on salaries and wages, furthermore bringing down commodity pricing benefiting the haves of the society (Leopold, 2018).

The people become strangers to each other and cannot transform their lives, thereby undermining worker solidarity. The labor force is also alienated from products of their sweat as profits earned are controlled by the haves. He states that most of the workings within such production sectors are repetitive, dangerous, and at times monotonous. Such operations are tiresome and are more suited for machines; hence the workers can, at times, be replaced by tools that can better work for unlimited workers producing the same but better products. Such efforts can lead to unwarranted job layoffs leading to increased poverty and making the haves of the society benefit more from such social exclusion.

How the Concepts Differ

To Emile Durkheim, a state of anomie can be reached when all existing social norms of a society are eradicated due to the emergence of newer trends brought about by the division of labor and industrialization. Increased crime rates and suicides become paramount as social means and jurisdictions are none existent. Karl Marx holds that capitalism breeds a state of anomie and alienation in that the haves of society keep expanding and acquiring much more. At the same time, they have nots continue to become more impoverished and dependent on the rich for survival. The rich, therefore, control as factors of production can decide on the fronts they wish the economy to take without considering the less fortunate (Leopold, 2018). Alienation is, therefore, achieved as the have-not's resort to extreme measures such as stealing and committing crimes to decentralize profits acquisitions for them also to have a say. Durkheim's theory bases its assumption on the division of labor as the resounding cause for social anarchy. In contrast, Karl Marx's theory insists on creative as a possible eradicator for any form of anomie as working in a capitalist economy bears few efforts due to exhaustion, apathy, and general frustrations.

Modern Anomie

Across the globe, various forms of anomie are in existence due to diverse capitalistic and communistic economies. Such economies, at times, promote evident efforts for alienation to occur due to competition. An example would be the production of second-hand goods and services across the globe. The existence of free and affordable products lead to a dip in economic growth as goods of higher quality are readily replaced by cheaper and easier to get versions (Serpa & Ferreira, 2018). The market gets flooded out due to competition and the availability of conflicting demands. Such can be observed in markets that sell consumer goods, clothes, cars, and even services. Such beget the need for social disintegration as numerous companies and products are emerging, which do not pay much concern to ethic standards placed on production by flooding the markets with unsafe products in the name of earning profits.

The consumers, therefore, are at risk of contracting or experiencing unwarranted diseases or effects due to the quality of products they consume. Such begets corruption, which in modern terms promotes anomie as the ones in power want to remain in power and consume all efforts for the people while the have-nots resort to crimes against the haves of the society as a way of restoring justice and moral order across the globe. Modern forms of anomie also exist in every sector. These happenings, therefore, have a prepared effect on various proponents, which can readily affect the corporation levels between diverse states and its people. As such, it is essential to note that precise and straightforward measures should get considered to understand the need for collective effort planning and incorporating change.


In summary, it is essential to understand what a state of alienation can bear on the globe. Therefore, it is paramount that reasoning gets accompanied by proper actions and jurisdiction to maintain social order and implementation of resultant needs. Social segregation should be placed under concern as it bears a mark of numerous activities undertaken in societies and what its effects can have on the immediate population.

As such, any state of anomie can be eliminated through proper concern, problem identification needs assessment and equitable rights. Such efforts would ensure labor division and segregation does not bear its ugly head on every issue and that all humans are equal and together can form a significant bond in which survival becomes the utmost concern. Survival begets hope, existence, and diversity inclusion on the summary of the needs of individuals, their workings, and efforts for equity amongst households and the community in general. Hence, jealousy does not accompany each act, but resound reasoning is paramount and of immediate concern to millennial workings and futuristic models.


DiCristina, B. (2016). Durkheim's Theory of Anomie and Crime: A Clarification and Elaboration. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 49(3), 311-331.

Leopold, D. (2018). Alienation.

Serpa, S., & Ferreira, C. M. (2018). Anomie in the Sociological Perspective of Emile Durkheim. Social Int J, 2(6), 689-691.

Cite this page

Anomie & Marx: Exploring Social Theory. (2023, Jun 07). Retrieved from

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