101 min read


Leo Srole {Roberts, 1956) presented a paper to the meeting of the American Sociological Society in 1951, in which he introduced the idea of Anomie, a phenomenon variously referred to as social dysfunction, social disorganization, group alienation, and demoralization. Srole believed that such an anomic state of affairs comprised “one of the prime forces on the urban scene contributing to the formation of patterns of distance, discrimination, and rejection toward out-groups in general and toward minority groups in particular.” Srole pointed to the vast amount of literature relating this sense of isolation, i.e. anomie, to political movements (both right and left) to many contemporary religious movements as well as to other prevalent social movements.

Many alternative responses may be seen as particular ways of attempting to deal with anomie: why then couldn’t our knowledge of prejudice benefit by the study of anomie (Simpson & Yinger, 1958, p. 99)? Srole sampled 401 white, native-born adults in an eastern city. He asked them to complete a questionnaire which included: (1) five questions concerning the degree of racial and religious prejudice; (2) five questions from the F scale; and (3) five questions measuring feelings of anomie or isolation from others.

A significant correlation was found between authoritarianism, anomie and scores on the prejudice scale. By means of partial correlation, Srole further discovered that the degree to which authoritarianism was correlated with prejudice when the effect of anomie was held constant and the degree to which anomie was correlated with prejudice when the effect or authoritarianism was held constant was .12 and .35 respectively, Hence, the sense of isolation appears to be more closely associated with anti-minority views than is authoritarianism (Simpson & Yinger, 1958, pp. 99–100).

Roberta (1956) attempted to replicate this experiment having removed some of the apparent flaws. Roberts found that:

Both anomie and authoritarianism correlated about equally highly with prejudice. There is a higher correlation between authoritarianism and prejudice with anomie held constant (r=.53) than between anomie and prejudice with authoritarianism held constant {r=.37). As a result of these findings, Roberts concluded that anomie should be considered a relevant variable, but certainly not one which supersedes authoritarianism as Srole thought.

Clearly, Srole and many other social psychological researchers and theorists wanted to “hitch a ride” on the very influential (and controversial) findings of The Authoritarian Personality. No other book about personality traits at the time—and since this time—has evoked such a concerted effort to modify or expand on the basic notion of authoritarian perspectives and practices.

Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Load More Related Articles
Load More By William Bergquist
Load More In Personality

Leave a Reply

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

Check Also

How to Snooze: Preparing for Sleep

What to Eat: That is the Question! With this cluster of pathways comes a massive volume of…