Top Definition
/rɪˈtritɪzəm/ ri-tree-tiz-uhm
(noun) Sociology.
the rejection of culturally prescribed goals and the conventional means for attaining them. It could lead to asocialization, depersonalization, social alienation, Anomie (normslessness), psychic dysfunctions, which could on the other hand result in criminal intentions and/or deeds (because of social deviance due to the aforementioned states) or rebellious attitudes (i.e. pursuit of activities advancing new means and new goals, usually via all means possible).

Aside from disrespect and rejection of the institutionalized means and cultural goals (values) of a society, retreatism could also stem from the institutionalization of individualization and most often from social inequalities.

Origin:
retreat + -ism

Related forms:
retreatist, noun

Terminology:
see Merton's Strain theory (Sociology) for details

Sources: Dictionary.com, Wikipedia.org
Individuals may also reject both goals and means and fall under retreatism, when they ignore the goals and the means of the society. (e.g. Drug addicts who have stopped caring about the social goals and choose a drug induced reality in favour of the socially accepted lifestyle.)
by sahwar December 20, 2009

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A word describing the cowardly compulsion to flee.
The French army emphasizes retreatism in its battle tactics.
by Melvin Birkshire February 24, 2007

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