Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of alienation is most often associated with the work of Karl Marx (1818–1883), or in writings related to his ideas. It starts from a conception of the human essence, which is said to be creative, loving, communal, and powerful. In particular forms of society, notably under capitalism, aspects of the human essence come to be located elsewhere, for example, in the commodities that human labor produces. From here, they dominate and oppress real human beings. Eventually, when alienation becomes sufficiently extreme, it leads to a revolution and the introduction of communism, a society in which the human essence has been reappropriated by men. This entry looks at some precursors of the Marxist concept of alienation, explores Marx's doctrine in detail, and describes its subsequent influence. The concept is also found earlier in the writings of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel (1770–1831). In writings around 1805, Hegel made some use ...