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The word ‘alienation’ has a general usage and it usually refers to a state of detachment – of ‘feeling out of thingsrsquo;. In sociology, and in the history of social thought, it has a more specific meaning. This derives from the work of Karl Marx on life under capitalism and, in particular, from his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (Marx, 1959). Marx interprets the term in four related ways and these are set out in the Dictionary of Sociology as follows: (a) workers become estranged from the products of their own labour, which are owned and disposed of by someone else; (b) work itself becomes an alien activity with no intrinsic satisfaction. People work in order to live, rather than to express themselves, ...

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