Dissertation Abstracts

Anomia, institutional Anomie and Prejudices – the Contribution of Chosen Anomie-theoretical Approaches for Explaining Group-focused Enmity

Author: Andreas Hövermann, ahoevermann@posteo.de
Department: Institute for interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence
University: University of Bielefeld, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Zick
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: German/English

Keywords: Anomie , Marketization , Prejudice , Institutions
Areas of Research: Economy and Society , Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations , Alienation Theory and Research


The cumulative dissertation-project “Anomia, institutional Anomie and Prejudices – the contribution of chosen anomie-theoretical approaches for explaining Group-focused Enmity” consists of scientific articles analyzing both theoretically and empirically coherences between societal Anomie and the distribution of prejudices. By applying various concepts of Anomie (Durkheim, 1983 [1897]; Merton, 1968; Messner & Rosenfeld, 1994) to the theme of prejudices, the concepts´ differences can be contrasted theoretically and empirically. Over and above the detailed analysis of the often showed finding of the influence of anomic disorientation (“Anomia”) on devaluations of weak groups (see Srole, 1956, Hüpping, 2006), an approach is developed, which applies an anomie concept based on societal marketization processes to the phenomenon prejudices. Therefore, assumptions of Institutional Anomie Theory (Messner & Rosenfeld, 1994), a theory originally developed to explain crime-rates on the macro-level is transferred to the micro-level. The postulated marketization of various important societal institutions results in Anomie insofar as the cultural structure of society can be characterized by overemphasizing egoistic, success and achievement orientated goals and simultaneously devaluating the means to succeed. This societal configuration makes limiting considerations of groups with regard to their profitability likely resulting in devaluations of those groups, which are generalized perceived as useless or economically burdening. The theoretical concepts are operationalized by self-contained instruments and tested empirically in comprehensive representative data sets on the local, national and cross-cultural level. The newly developed theoretical approach to anomie proves itself in the analyses as substantial for understanding especially devaluations toward purportedly unprofitable groups.

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