In sociology, anomie (/ˈænəˌmi/) is a social condition defined by an uprooting or breakdown of any moral values, standards or guidance for individuals to follow.[1][2] Anomie may evolve from conflict of belief systems[3] and causes breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community (both economic and primary socialization).[4] E.g. alienation in a person that can progress into a dysfunctional inability to integrate within normative situations of their social world like to find a job, find success in relationships, etc.

The term, commonly understood to mean normlessness, is believed to have been popularized by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his influential book Suicide (1897). However, Durkheim first introduced the concept of anomie in his 1893 work The Division of Labour in Society. Durkheim never used the term normlessness;[5] rather, he described anomie as "derangement," and "an insatiable will."[6][need quotation to verify] Durkheim used the term "the malady of the infinite" because desire without limit can never be fulfilled; it only becomes more intense.[7]

For Durkheim, anomie arises more generally from a mismatch between personal or group standards and wider social standards; or from the lack of a social ethic, which produces moral deregulation and an absence of legitimate aspirations. This is a nurtured condition:

Most sociologists associate the term with Durkheim, who used the concept to speak of the ways in which an individual's actions are matched, or integrated, with a system of social norms and practices…anomie is a mismatch, not simply the absence of norms. Thus, a society with too much rigidity and little individual discretion could also produce a kind of anomie…[8]