Study Guides (248,540)
Canada (121,617)
notapp (13)


3 Pages
Unlock Document

Political Science
Political Science 2102A/B

Marx’s theory of alienation - Alienation is the transformation of people’s own labour into a power which rules them as if by a kind of natural or supra-human law. The origin of alienation is commodity fetishism – the belief that inanimate things (commodities) have human powers (i.e., value) able to govern the activity of human beings. - refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony. In the concept's most important use, it refers to the social alienation of people from aspects of their "human nature - He believed that alienation is a systematic result of capitalism. - For Marx, the main aspect of alienation is the separation of work or labour from the worker, and separation of the products of labour from the worker. Both end up being taken by employers and controlled by them, dominating the worker. - Marx uses alienation in several ways. Initially, and as part of his historical and philosophical concerns, Marx referred to religion whereby "God ... had usurped man's own position." - great contribution in the Manuscripts was to show how alienation is rooted in human labour and the material world. That is, it is not initially an individual problem or state of mind, but is an objective, observable feature of the manner in which human labour is organized and exercised. - According to Marx, alienation refers to the split between a human's existence (material) and essence (soul). - When life becomes a means of life, which means that a person's existence and essence are split, man (the waged worker) is alienated. A worker is alienated in four aspects. The first is the alienation from his products. The more a worker produces, the less inner world is left for him. Therefore, he "alienates the products of his material activity in the form of commodity and money." (Petrovic, 1963) The second is the alienation from his production process. He alienates his labor activity because this activity is not free and does not belong to himself, that is, he cannot have control over his productive activity by his will and consciousness. Put in a more vivid way, "He is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home."(Marx, 1844) The third is the alienation from his essence, which is the self-alienation. As I mentioned above, Marx believes that man's essence is to produce. A worker uses his labor not for producing but for earning money; he is acquisitive but not productive. The fourth is the alienation from other men-his species beings. Economic growth and prosperity do not increase workers' own income, because capitalists will set the wage as the subsistence of workers strictly. The wealth that workers produce is not relevant to their own livings. - Based on these arguments, Marx contends that the dehumanized workers are the sacrifice of Capitalism and he believes the Communist society, a society with no private property, is the only way to provide human freedom and independence. He contends that with the emergence of the consciousness of the proletarian class, the state will disappear and the "true human history" will begin. - (1) Marx argues that the worker is alienated from his laboring activity, because it is not the expression of himself but rather a means to prolonging his physical existence. - (2) The worker is alienated from the product of his labor, because it belongs to the capitalist and so the worker’s labor increases the power of the capitalist whose interest is in so many ways opposed to the worker’s. - (3) The worker is alienated from nature. - (4) Most importantly, he is alienated from the human essence, and so from his fellow human beings In On the Jewish Question Marx calls for “the emancipation of society from Judaism.” What is the underlying theme of this essay? Marx claims that emancipation is divided into two forms: political and human. He makes it clear that human is the more  important of the two, while political is the more easily achieved. Political emancipation, to Marx, is the point at which man is  free with relation to the state. For example, political emancipation is reached when all men within a state are treated equally  under the laws of the state. This would be in contrast to the Germany of Marx's day, where Jews has special laws restricting their  political and legal participation. Marx was here speaking mainly about the state and religion, and thus claimed that political  emancipation was not sufficient because it merely deferred religion from the state to society. Religion c
More Less

Related notes for Political Science 2102A/B

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.