Revisiting the measurement of anomie
Hong, Ying Yi
Jensen, Dorthe Høj
Mähönen, Tuuli Anna
Torres, Ana Raquel
van der Bles, Anne Marthe
Date of Issue2016
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Sociologists coined the term “anomie” to describe societies that are characterized by disintegration and deregulation. Extending beyond conceptualizations of anomie that conflate the measurements of anomie as ‘a state of society’ and as a ‘state of mind’, we disentangle these conceptualizations and develop an analysis and measure of this phenomenon focusing on anomie as a perception of the ‘state of society’. We propose that anomie encompasses two dimensions: a perceived breakdown in social fabric (i.e., disintegration as lack of trust and erosion of moral standards) and a perceived breakdown in leadership (i.e., deregulation as lack of legitimacy and effectiveness of leadership). Across six studies we present evidence for the validity of the new measure, the Perception of Anomie Scale (PAS). Studies 1a and 1b provide evidence for the proposed factor structure and internal consistency of PAS. Studies 2a-c provide evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. Finally, assessing PAS in 28 countries, we show that PAS correlates with national indicators of societal functioning and that PAS predicts national identification and well-being (Studies 3a & 3b). The broader implications of the anomie construct for the study of group processes are discussed.
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