Turning anomie on its head: Fatalism as Durkheim's concealed and multidimensional alienation theory

Sociological Theory 23 (1):75-85 (2005)
Abstract
Durkheim's underdeveloped notion of fatalism is the keystone for a bridge between two conceptual categories central to Marxian and Durkheimian theory: alienation and anomie. Durkheim does not necessarily disagree with Marx that excessive regulation can be socially damaging but chooses to highlight the effects of under- regulation. A Durkheimian critique of overregulation becomes possible if we turn away from anomie and toward Durkheim's idea of fatalism-a concept that I will argue here is unexpectedly consistent with Marx's notion of alienation. We can infer that Durkheim presents us with a notion of an "optimal" human condition that exists between anomie and fatalism. The structure of modern societies, it will be argued, is characterized not just by excessive control leading to alienation or by a lack of integrative restraint leading to anomie but also by active efforts to optimally regulate social life
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