Review by Choice Review
The title of this volume is somewhat misleading because it does not address the broad, theoretical dimensions of anomie found in, for example, Marco Orru's Anomie: History and Meanings (CH, Mar'88). Instead, the focus here is primarily on Robert K. Merton's interpretation of anomie, on anomie's uses in criminology, and on this concept's positivistic refinement for research purposes. This is a narrow understanding of anomie theory. Nonetheless, the collection is useful and innovative for specialists in this subfield of criminology. Agnew points out that no research thus far has taken up the hypothesis that juvenile delinquents suffer from anomie conceived as "unlimited desires." Other contributing authors refine the differences and similarities between Merton's anomie theory and strain theory, drift theory, and other criminological theories. The volume's main contribution seems to be that Merton's understanding of anomie needs to be updated and widened to include dimensions that were understandably absent when he first formulated his interpretation in 1937. Limited bibliography, adequate index. S. G. Mestrovic Texas A&M University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.