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Alienation

Alienation is a Marxist concept used to describe the severance of individuals from their productive activity, their social relationships, and their essential humanity. Although Marxists have mostly invoked it with reference to work and wage labor, alienation can also shed light on consumers' experiences of passivity, indifference, and disconnection in their leisure time. Henri Lefebvre, for instance, wrote that “there can be alienation in leisure just as in work,” and observed that production and consumption were related in a totality in which “we work to earn our leisure, and leisure has only one meaning: to get away from work” (1991, 39–40, italics in original). Likewise, Erich Fromm observed, “the process of consumption is as alienated as the process of production” (1955, 120, italics in original).

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