Anomie was a concept introduced to sociology by Emile Durkheim to mean normlessness; an upheaval in social values often associated with rapid social change and lack of order. He originally used the term in his famous study on suicide as one of the social conditions that could lead to increased suicide rates. Robert Merton further developed the concept of anomie in his famous strain theory (see Crime and Deviance) as denoting the strain between social expectations and goals and the socially-acceptable means of acquiring them.

From the Reference Library