alienation

alienation

[eyl-yuh-ney-shuhn, ey-lee-uh-]
alienation, in property laws: see tenure.

In the social sciences context, the state of feeling estranged or separated from one's milieu, work, products of work, or self. The concept appears implicitly or explicitly in the works of Émile Durkheim, Ferdinand Tönnies, Max Weber, and Georg Simmel but is most famously associated with Karl Marx, who spoke of workers being alienated from their work and its products under capitalism. In other contexts the term alienation, like anomie, can suggest a sense of powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, social isolation, or cultural- or self-estrangement brought on by the lack of fit between individual needs or expectations and the social order.

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Alienation may refer to:

  • Alienation (property law), the legal transfer of title of ownership to another party
  • "Alienation", the medical term for splitting apart of the faculties of the mind
  • Social alienation, the individual subject's estrangement from its community, society, or world
  • Marx's theory of alienation, the separation of things that naturally belong together, or antagonism between things that are properly in harmony
  • Alienation effect, a theatrical and cinematic device by which the audience is "alienated" from a play or film

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