Social Alienation in Present-Day World

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The concept of Social Alienation is the act of alienating, or causing someone to become indifferent or hostile and feeling a separation between people or groups. Karl Marx and Max Weber were both known for their theory on Alienation. The word anomie means the lack of social or moral standards in an individual or society. The term, “anomie” is mostly linked to Emile Durkheim. Their theories were different but also similar in some ways.

As Judy Cox said, “Marx developed his theory of alienation to reveal the human activity that lies behind the seemingly impersonal forces dominating the society. He showed how, although aspects of the society we live in appear natural and independent of us, they are the results of past human actions.” (Cox) His theory refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to putting antagonism between things that are properly in harmony. He observed that within the capitalist mode of production, the workers lose determination of their lives and destinies by being deprived of the right to conceive of themselves as the director of their actions. Marx was strong on the aspects of “human nature.” He believed that alienation is a result of capitalism. I agree with Karl Marx on his theory of alienation and how he really values human nature. Max Weber was another person known for his view on alienation. Max had a concept of rationality and focused on the problems that were made by politics. Back then in the old system it isolated people from mankind. Weber said that bureaucracy is the efficient form of authority, but that it would change the iron cage. From the “Backup of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Alienation” Kistler said, “He was afraid that people would lose those aspects, such as emotion and values, which caused them to challenge authority. When people find it value rational to mindlessly obey the rules then they fail to keep the system in check.”

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Emile Durkheim thought it was good because it made people have independence and saw the problem as an anomie. He had a functionalist view and believed in harmony, rather than conflicts that was in the society. Durkheim was known for studying the division of labor, religion and suicide from his view. He had theories of functionalism, anomie and division of labor. On functionalism Melissa Hurt says, “According to Durkheim, society should be analyzed and described in terms of functions. Society is a system of interrelated parts where no one part can function without the other.” Hurt explains, “Durkheim’s concept of the division of labor focused on the shift in societies from a simple society to one that is more complex. He argued that traditional societies were made up of homogeneous people that were more or less the same in terms of values, religious belief’s, and backgrounds.”

Although these men shared different beliefs, they did have some similarities too. “Backup of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Alienation” Kistler mentioned, “They all mention man’s disconnectedness with society and with their natural state.” I think there are still problems in our society today with alienation. In the workplace, the jobs are more specialized and workers may not feel a connection between the jobs they perform which can make them feel lonely. I feel that many people have a sense of feeling separated from the society and lonely. We should try to minimize that. Some examples of things we feel left out from are decisions on what is being produced, how things are produced, our own humanity and nature. With anomie in our society it is normlessness and going with the way of life with certain social standards. Since things are changing in our society, members have to adapt to fit in. Some people can’t handle change and when their sense of normal is ruined, people start to feel anomie and alone with themselves. It’s hard to reduce anomy since it’s so common in our society now.

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