Neoliberalism, Anomie, and Interpersonal Violence: Normlessness Leads to Criminality?

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Philip Cohen says:

    Very interesting. Thank you. What do you make of the steep decline in interpersonal violence in the u.s. in the last 25 years?

    • Candace Smith says:

      Hi Philip. I think that’s a very good question. Maybe it could be argued that the more developed a country is when neoliberalism is embraced, the less susceptible that country will be to the most serious consequences of neoliberal policies. With the U.S., for instance, maybe it’s that having had already attained a high level of development has helped to shield it from experiencing things increasing rates of interpersonal violence. In the case of a less developed country like Russia, it could be that neoliberalism exacerbated the many long-term problems that had been festering. Still, this is just an idea that popped into my head. Your question certainly deserves more in-depth consideration.

  2. Thanks, this is another great post. On the flip side to Neoliberalism, Anomie, and Interpersonal Violence…

    ‘The upper class has a higher propensity for unethical behavior, being more likely to believe [] that “greed is good,” according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Read more at:

    It is easy to see how neoliberalism with its focus on individual wealth as a measure of success or “greed is good” is exacerbating the unethical propensity of the upper class to help further unravel ethical behaviour at the top end of society.

    • Candace Smith says:

      Thank you for link. I agree that studies like this one are troubling. It makes me wonder if there will come a point where there will be some sort of a strong reaction against the ever increasing focus on individual success. I’m not sure what may bring about such a reaction, but it just seems like there eventually will be some sort of a push back against individualization and the negative consequences surrounding it. And, when that happens, I’m hopeful that we’ll see an improvement on a number of key measures like overall well-being, crime statistics, inequality, and, of course, selfishness.

  3. David Quinn says:

    I think that this article highlights one of the main reasons why many countries including the US have had so many problems in eliminating crime such as the drug trade. Areas that have been systematically excluded from development become ghettos with little or no opportunities for legitimate employment. If people are denied access to the legal workforce, they will just stop valuing it as a status to strive for. As a society we need to be able to provide opportunities for the at risk members of our society or they will look to less legitimate markets to meet their needs. We place many people in a double bind. They can either choose to wait for a legal job to become available and suffer the stigma of poverty in a society that views poverty as a result of a lack in personal merit, or join the illegitimate market and suffer the stigma of being a criminal. With this lose-lose option given to individuals it is no surprise that individuals decide to discard the societies values all together. Until we live in a society that is actually decided by personal merit, this anomie will continue to be a cause in violent crime.

  4. Jennifer says:

    A great article. Too bad I did not read it when it was first published. I was born in Russia to German – Russian parents, and left for Australia in early 1990. It is amazing how much I have tried to forget what was happening there at the time, as I was born in 1972. I have not been back ever since, mainly due to the constantly building up violence and unpredictability of human behavior there. I will never go back, because I would feel unsafe and even somewhat socially violated. I really enjoyed reading your article. Is there more to read on anomie and violence in societies?
    J. Kittlitz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *