Anomie, Anomia and Anomy - Distinct Concepts and Distinct Research Approaches? a View from Latvia.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Seminarsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Agita MISANE, Advanced Social and Political Research Institute, University of Latvia, Latvia
Drawing on the preliminary findings of the research project „Social value orientations and social renewal” from the University of Latvia, this paper will discuss the practical applicability of the concepts anomie, anomia and anomy to sociological research of a particular society. The project applies mixed methods approach to the  research of value orientations and social norms of the Latvian society with particular reference to the impact of mass media and Soviet regime on their genesis, and the spread of social anomie. Further, it is intended to analyze how value orientations influence social behavior, including forms of political participation, the evolution of family models and citizens’ reproductive behavior. We have found the distinction of anomia (individual state of subjective feeling of meaninglessness and atomization, disappointment with one’s situation in the society, and concerns of insecure personal future) and anomie (a state of society where social institutions provide insufficient moral guidance and normative regulation to the members of society) useful. We would argue that these two phenomena require different methodological approaches to research. Social surveys (Srole’s scale, e.a.) prove helpful to the measurement of anomia while a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods need to be applied to anomie research. Several indicators of anomie will be discussed, in particular, reactions to normlessness epitomized by growth of nationalism, neoconservatism and Soviet nostalgia.