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Increasingly, there appears to be a connection between neoliberalism and the development of anomie. Such an association is unsurprising considering that neoliberalism encouragesindividuals to achieve ever greater success even though such a goal is unrealistic. In response to being blocked from realizing their never-ending aspirations, Merton (1968) argues that people insuccess-driven societies will feel deprived and frustrated as a divide forms between idealistic ambitions and factual reality. While such a divide has traditionally been the widest indeveloped capitalist states like the U.S., Passas (2000) contends that the growth of neoliberalism has exacerbated this problem in countries throughout the world. As a result, anomie, or the“withdrawal of allegiance from conventional norms and a weakening of these norms’ guiding power on behavior” has increased on a global scale (Passas 2000:20). Oozing with the anomie broughtabout by constant strain, neoliberalism can intensify the occurrence of violence as frustrated people struggle to live and to succeed in an unequal society. In response to this idea, itappears that as neoliberalism becomes more prominent in a country, it can be expected that anomie and, as a result, interpersonal violence within that country will increase. When it comes tosuccess-driven societies, both Durkheim (1951[1897]) and Merton (1968) argue that such environments can lead to the development of anomie as a result of the imbalance between societalexpectations and realistic opportunities. Both scholars agree that the occurrence of means-ends discrepancies can cause to people to feel highly strained and frustrated. And, as people becomeincreasingly aware of power and economic asymmetries, especially as globalization and neoliberalism become more prominent in a country, this sense of strain and frustration can grow.
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