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Anomie

If the world of consumer culture strikes the reader as one of perpetual flux and indeterminate movement, a world that has lost the moorings that bound traditional civil society to conventional morality, or a world in which there appears to be no consensus on behavioral norms or foundational values, then it might seem reasonable to suggest that contemporary consumer culture is anomic, that it is without norms, and that it inspires in the subject a profound sense of dislocation and disorientation.

This concept of anomie, used in many interesting and innovative ways throughout our intellectual history (see Orru 1987), is primarily associated with the rather bleak but highly perceptive writing of French sociologist Émile Durkheim, whose work at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of ...

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