malaika tucker-working on a assembly line (1)Alienation is defined by Jon Witt as a “loss of control over our creative human capacity to produce separation from the products we make, and isolation from our fellow producers.”  Karl Marx’s theory of alienation consists of four parts. The first is alienation from the product. This means, what you produce does not belong to you. A good example of this is working on an assembly line at a car factory. You have no control over the design and production protocol. The second is alienation from other people. This can mean you don’t get to spend time with people you enjoy being with because of your job or you chose not to be around or associate with others for your own personal reasons. People that fit in this category could also have a situation or job where they feel like they’re part of a secondary group and/or out-group. For example, car salesmen have commission-based jobs.  The more cars they sell, the more money they make.  Competition can develop between coworkers who are trying to beat one another out of a sale, causing coworkers to be distant. The third is alienation from work. This means your job becomes monotonous or automatic. malaika tucker-working on a fast food lineYour mind doesn’t even have to be there. An example of this would be making food at a fast food restaurant; you’ve memorized what ingredients go in which food item so well that your hands are just moving without you actually thinking about it.  Social control could be a reason why people end up in this category.  After trying to be a perfect worker and show obedience to your boss and also not draw any attention to yourself, before you know it, everything’s habitual. The fourth is alienation of the worker from himself as a producer from his/her species essence. This means humans are naturally inclined to work as long as this job engages their human spirit. An example of this would be an actor and actress. They don’t get to add their own spin to their lines, they have to say what’s written in the script; therefore this job does not engage their human spirit.



Marx’s Theory Of Alienation. Wikipedia, 20 February. 2013. Web.

Witt, Jonathan. Soc. New York: McGraw, 2012. 115. Print.

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