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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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