For Durkheim anomie is the effect of the breakdown of societal bonds; for Merton, strain is a mechanism of anomie and can occur during anomic societal states: strain towards anomie describes the individual’s battle to obtain the necessary means needed to achieve their goals. Durkheim suggested that during an anomic state individual aspirations are not limited because of the undefined presence of societal norms; without these norms, he suggested, members of society are deluded as to what is realistically achievable (Durkheim, 1897, ). Merton's theory, on the other hand, offers an explanation for why social forces influence some people to commit deviant and criminal acts and why some individuals conform to societal pressures and why some do not.
Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We’re even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues. Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women’s roles and other factors have contributed to this decline.
I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.
Let’s have the decency to let tween girls have their own little world of vampires and child wizards and games you play when hungry. Let’s not pump Justin Bieber in our Saabs and get engaged at Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. Because it’s embarrassing. You can’t take an adult seriously when he’s debating you over why Twilight vampires are . with sunlight. If my parents had read “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” at the same time as I did, I would have looked into boarding school.