Anomie and culture management: reappraising Durkheim

P Johnson, Joanne Duberley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    This research investigates how recent approaches to culture management have tacitly assimilated Merton's and Mayo's reformulations of Durkheim's theory of anomie. This reformulation legitimates an instrumental focus upon the need for 'experts' to regulate the means by which naturalized utilitarian ends are pursued by developing culture management practices that aim to (re)integrate the mal-socialized. In contrast to this technocratic approach, we explore how Durkheim's original formulation of anomie, far from accepting utilitarian ends as givens, articulated concerns about the unfettering of egoism he saw to be engendered by the classical liberal free market assumptions at the heart of utilitarianism. How this free market ethos, articulated by recent neoliberal discourses, guides the content and processes of post-bureaucratic culture management manoeuvres is then investigated. This article concludes by showing how, from Durkheim's stance, such managerial processes paradoxically serve to express and propagate the incidence of anomie. In stark contrast, as a means of re-establishing social cohesion as a bulwark against anomie whilst protecting individual freedoms, Durkheim's communitarian agenda emphasized the need to establish an organic solidarity, knowingly agreed by all on an equal basis, thereby potentially legitimating a more democratic approach to organizational governance that has contemporary relevance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-584
    Number of pages22
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


    • neoliberalism
    • communitarianism
    • Anomie
    • post-bureaucracy
    • culture management


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