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The Ideas of Collective Conscience and ‘anomie’ Regarding Stress Experienced by Teenagers in Singapore

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Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) was a French Sociologist renowned for his influence on sociology. Some theories that he founded would include the collective conscience and the idea of ‘Anomie’, which still holds relevance in our society. This essay attempts to analyse an article regarding stress experienced by teenagers in Singapore. By understanding the occurrence of ‘Anomie’ and the idea of collective conscience as explained by Durkheim, we can better comprehend the phenomenon of teenager’s stress due to academic pressure and social factors in Singapore. Anomie is the condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose or ideals due to rapid changes in society. Anomie is associated to the influence of a lack of norms or norms that were too rigid.

In the context of studies, ‘Anomie’ is present when the teenager places overemphasis on the importance of studies and grades as indoctrinated by society. Failing to meet one’s expectations may then result in an unhealthy mindset which diminishes one’s own sense of self-worth. Last year, a Primary 5 pupil fell 17 floors from his bedroom window on the day he was supposed to take his exam papers home. . . he failed his Higher Chinese and mathematics in his latest mid-year exam. ” This example illustrates how teenagers are thrown into scenarios where they are not psychologically mature enough to understand their expectations and deal with the failure to meet them. The teenager’s cultivated mentality on the significance of studies and grades were pushing factors that led to his suicide. This mentality of attaining stellar results is inculcated into children at a tender age. According to a 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study, 86% of Singapore students felt worried about poor grades at school, in contrast to the average of 66% from 72 countries surveyed. Students may also feel overwhelmed when they are bombarded with numerous tests and milestones such as cohort streaming such as during Primary 3/5. The surge in demands and expectations may take a heavy toll on them, resulting in them being unable to cope. These factors lead to teenagers feeling disconnected from society when they are misguided on the relative importance of societal demands.

By recognizing how the dramatic shift in academic demands results in increased stress levels experienced by teenagers, we can modify our education system to slowly ease them into coping with more demanding tasks. This would ensure that they are not out of their depth and are able to manage their studies while maintaining minimal stress levels. Durkheim also provides insight on the importance of collective conscience. The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own and can be termed the collective or creative consciousness. Society exists because individuals feel a sense of solidarity with other members of the society. Without strong social connections and support, teenagers sometimes find themselves unable to cope with stress.

Durkheim believed that social facts were a major contributing factor to someone committing suicide i. e. the social bonds a person had in society. “Experts have observed a rise in the number of stressed-out children and youth in Singapore. While the demands of school are often blamed, the stress often stems from multiple sources. Some have trouble making friends or being accepted by their peers, and face family problems or have high personal expectations. ” Stress also occurs when people experience social isolation. The importance of social factors over the individual can also be seen in Durkheim’s work on suicide. A lack of emotional guidance may leave some teenagers feeling overwhelmed and unable to mingle with society. Enhanced social measures such as psychological trainings and watch groups can help to bolster emotional resilience in teenagers. With greater societal support, teenagers would be more adept at dealing with their stress.

As suicide rates continue to rise in our modern society, it appears to reinforce Durkheim’s theory of ‘Anomie’ arising from society not being able to keep up with the rapid changes it experiences. It leads us to ponder if Singapore should place greater emphasis on the emotional support network for teenagers, and possibly rework its education system to focus more on the learning process rather than the outcome.

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The Ideas of Collective Conscience and ‘Anomie’ Regarding Stress Experienced by Teenagers in Singapore. (2020, April 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-ideas-of-collective-conscience-and-anomie-regarding-stress-experienced-by-teenagers-in-singapore/
“The Ideas of Collective Conscience and ‘Anomie’ Regarding Stress Experienced by Teenagers in Singapore.” GradesFixer, 30 Apr. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-ideas-of-collective-conscience-and-anomie-regarding-stress-experienced-by-teenagers-in-singapore/
The Ideas of Collective Conscience and ‘Anomie’ Regarding Stress Experienced by Teenagers in Singapore. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-ideas-of-collective-conscience-and-anomie-regarding-stress-experienced-by-teenagers-in-singapore/> [Accessed 22 May 2022].
The Ideas of Collective Conscience and ‘Anomie’ Regarding Stress Experienced by Teenagers in Singapore [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 30 [cited 2022 May 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-ideas-of-collective-conscience-and-anomie-regarding-stress-experienced-by-teenagers-in-singapore/
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