Thursday, October 16, 2008

The End of Anomie

I just posted over at Open Left:

Then End of Anomie

Between roughly 1968 and 2004, United States (and its politics) has been dominated by a form of social relations that is defined, paradoxically, by a lack of social relations: Anomie. It is that feeling that comes about when one feels that the anchors of one's life have been cut, when traditional values such as family, friends, community, church and work seems to be evaporating. In anomie, family, neighborhood, community and church become, as often as not, institutions in transition that subsequently raise as many questions as they answer.

This has been as true for our urban areas as for our rural ones. The exodus to the suburbs brought on increased feelings of separation from our friends and neighbors and family. Our suburbs, while offering some benefits like front yards to play in and spacious living quarters for our smaller families, conversely brought us increased busing and commutes, and fewer family dinners. Our countryside was nearly fully transformed into a large factory that produced for the our cities. Our rural areas became not autonomous regions of self-sustenance but places where people worked for low wages to produce materials for the city based the economics of the city. Diversity of crops and of labor was sacrificed to the predictable (but meager) world of monocrop production where local supermarkets imported carrots, salads, beets, and sweet corn so that the surrounding acreage can produce soybeans or cattle feed. Like their urban counterparts, the rural folk no longer felt in control of their own destiny. They were strangers in the small towns... [click here to keep reading]