Igor Kon*
The concept of alienation in modern sociology. Marxism and sociology
Marxism and sociology
Edited by Peter L. Berger
New School for Social Research

New York 1969
* editor's note. - Translated by courtesy of Nikolai Zhibeinov of the Novosti Press Agency, Moscow

The concept of alienation in modern sociology
The concept of alienation is one of the most common and withal one of the least defined concepts in modern sociology. Some authors shun a clear-cut definition altogether. Thus, in his fore-word to the two-volume anthology he has edited, Gerald Sykes defines alienation as "an obscure but real affliction that has already overtaken anyone who does not respond to the beauty on page 936, to the horror on page 52, to the wisdom on page 688,' to the pathos on page 568, to the passion on page 581. A textbook definition is given on page 67. Haste to look up these passages would only mean an advanced case of alienation. Complete unconcern about them would be still worse." 1
To understand this concept of varied meaning, we should best trace its evolution historically in its relation to the history of philosophical thought. However I fear this would lead us into too rambling a discourse, all the more since the term was differently defined at different periods. In the Middle Ages it implied a definite degree of mystical ecstasy in man's communion with God.2 Later the Protestants, beginning with Calvin, understood the term as spiritual death, as estrangement of man's spirit from God by virtue of original sin.3 Rousseau speaks of the alienation of the individual's natural rights in favor of the community as a whole which results from the social contract. The romanticists dwell on the individual's alienation from others. Hegel employs the term to denote the alienation of consciousness from the individual, the subject viewing himself as the object, so that the entire objective world is nothing but the "alienated spirit." With Feuerbach self-alienation of the human substance is represented as the prime source of Christianity. Marx meanwhile turns to a socio-economic analysis regarding the employee's alienation from the means of production as the derivative of private ownership and the social division of labor. Developed parallel to the philosophical concept of alienation was the psychiatric concept implying the mental affection that makes a person irresponsible. It is obviously impossible to discuss the entire intricate range of these problems within the scope of one article. Scarcely justified either is the "normative" approach, by means of which one proceeds from a certain tradition to define the "genuine" purport of alienation, discarding all others meanwhile as "delusion."

Here we shall confine ourselves to the following: First, by singling out some formal elements of the concept of alienation we shall try to clarify the range of phenomena it covers. Second, without delving into historico-philosophical material we shall endeavor to demonstrate the dependence of sociological interpretations of alienation on the general philosophical orientation of various authors. And third, on this basis we shall try to estimate the value of this concept for the description and explanation of social facts.

So, what, strictly speaking, does the term mean and what processes and phenomena does it describe? To furnish the answer we must reduce this question to several smaller specific issues. (A similar approach is taken by Kenneth Keniston.4 True, his approach and especially his resulting definition substantially differ from mine.)

Kenneth Keniston, The Uncommitted Alienated Youth in American Society, New York, 1965, appendix.

Who is alienated? At first glance this seems an unnecessary question, since it is man's alienation that is universally discussed. But what actually is implied? Some authors speak of man as the individual. Precisely in this category is the definition given in the UNESCO Dictionary of Social Sciences: "Alienation, as most generally used in social science, denotes an estrangement or separation between parts or the whole of the personality and significant aspects of the world of experience. (1) Within this general denotation the term may refer to (a) an objective state of estrangement or separation; (b) the state of feeling of the estranged personality; (c) a motivational state tending towards estrangement. (2) The separation denoted by the term may be between (a) the self and the objective world; (b) the self and aspects of the self that have become separated and placed against the self, e. g. alienated labour; (c) the self and the self." 5

This definition furnishes a whole row of modalities of alienation but with the personality invariably the subject. However, this interpretation is far from all-embracing. When, for instance, Marxian sociologists speak of the alienation of the worker from the means of production they have in mind not the individual but a whole social class. Frequently the "focus" of alienation is one or another social group (the alienation of an ethnic minority from the rest of society, the alienation of the intelligentsia from the masses, etc.), and even mankind as a whole. However, the discussion of the problems of a separate individual that stem from the specific features of his personal private existence is far from being the same thing as discussion of the problems of a specific social group, problems which derive from the group's social status, or, finally, discussion of the problems of human life generally.

From what is one alienated? The answers are still more varied than are those to the preceding question.

In his early works Marx speaks of the alienation from man of his own essence. Later this is made more specific in the concepts of alienation of labor, of the purport of activity from its objective content, of the individual from the family or clan, of power from the ruled, etc. Marvin Scotte divides the categories of alienation into four groups: alienation from values, from norms, from roles and from facilities. Some existentialists, to escape the inclusion of a priori ontological conditions, furnish a formal definition of alienation as "exclusion of a certain possibility" - which is not defined.7 With many American sociologists alienation denotes a conflict between the aims of culture and the means of their realization which prevents the individual from taking part in socio-cultural activity. Thus, according to Keniston, alienated people are those "who reject what they see as the dominant values, roles and institutions of their society." 8

Not infrequently this is crystallized to mean the conflict between the social role "given" to the individual and his own value orientations.9 In other words, alienation implies a conflict between the individual and society, against the background of the contradictory character of the system of social culture itself. Finally, in socio-psychological researches alienation often denotes the inner conflict in the mind of the subject who feels incapable of realizing aims set.10 Hence, one and the same term may denote the estrangement of the individual from human environment, the forced alienation from man of the products of his labor, the independence of power from the ruled and so on and so forth.

In what is alienation manifested? The concrete answers this question are so varied that it is altogether impossible reduce them to a system. However, the main point is whether this is an objective, or subjective (psychological) phenomenon Marxists say the first, implying a tangible social process which exists regardless of the degree to which people take cognizant of it. Herbert Marcuse is of the same mind. He believes aliena-tion "has become entirely objective; the subject which is alienated is swallowed up by its alienated existence. There is only i dimension and it is everywhere and in all forms." n The fact; that people are unaware of their lack of liberty is precisely proof of the totality of alienation. In the eyes of other authors on the contrary, alienation is exclusively or primarily a psycho-logical phenomenon, and they are interested in the inner emo-tions of the individual. Thus, Melvin Seeman regards alienation exclusively "from the personal standpoint of the actor." 12 Aliena-tion in this case is expressed in the individual's feeling of his powerlessness, in feeling that his life is meaningless, and so on. All characterization of the objective situation engendering such emotions is deliberately eliminated, since these situations may vary. This psychological interpretation of alienation currently dominates in empirical sociology in the United States.

By what is alienation produced? This falls into two question (a) Does the term imply a definite process or state? A process presumes that a quality, possibility, etc. was initially possessed and subsequently lost. The task, hence, is to elucidate how occurred (for instance how someone became estranged from the community or became disillusioned with certain values). Characterization of alienation as a state implies merely a description of the obtaining situation without indicating its origin. When, for instance, a Marxist says the worker is alienated from means of production he does not at all imply that the worker on possessed these means of production and then lost them. (b) What is the dynamic factor of alienation? Or, in other words, is the subject himself alienated from certain relations, norms and values or vice versa? The concept of alienation of the subject gives oriority to an analysis of the subject's attitude to the appropriate phenomenon, and this attitude explains his behavior. If relations, norms and values are seen as being alienated from the subject, it is external social conditions that emerge as the alienating factor and these are to be investigated.

What are the causes of alienation? Answers differ radically. Some authors deduce alienation from overall conditions of human existence, others - from certain definite social factors such as private ownership, the social division of labor, or scientific and technical progress - while still others proceed from individual psychological factors, including neuroticism.

What ways and means exist for overcoming alienation? The answer plainly stems from all that has been said before. If alienation derives from the overall conditions of human existence, there is no problem at all. If alienation has concrete social causes, it can be overcome only by changing the social conditions. Finally, if alienation is an individual psychological phenomenon, it is enough to alter the appropriate personal attitudes - by psychotherapy, for instance - to overcome it.

So, to sum up: when speaking of man's alienation and describing its symptoms, different authors mean totally different things. They differ not only in the answers, but even in the very approach to the problem.


The sociological conceptions of alienation distinctly betray different philosophical orientations. The empirico-positivist orientation views alienation primarily in the socio-psychological aspect. Authors are interested in one key issue. This is how concrete, clearly-defined social conditions affect the value orientations and attitudes of the individual, or of a social group in regard to their social functions. Their main concern is to reduce the concept of alienation to definite, empirically measurable parameters, which may become the subject of a socio-psychological study. Seeman, regarding alienation as the summation of the individual's emotions, divides it into five different modalities: (1) powerlessness, when the individual believes his activity will fail to yield the results he seeks; (2) meaninglessness, when the individual has no clear understanding of the events in which he takes part, when he does not know what he should believe in and why he should behave precisely in some fashion and not otherwise;

(3) normlessness or anomie, a situation in which the individual encounters contradictory role expectations and is compelled to behave in a socially unapproved fashion to achieve his purposes;

(4) isolation, that is, estrangement of the individual from the dominant aims and values of his society, and finally (5) self-estrangement, which is the individual's estrangement from the self, the feeling that his own self and its abilities are something strange, are a means or implement.

Seeman's typology, which many students have accepted with one or another modification, is employed in the empirical investigation of socio-psychological processes as, for instance, the worker's attitude to his job, the degree of identification of personality with the social role, etc. However, in this case alienation describes not so much social situation as individual or group self-consciousness. Thus, alienation of labor is reduced to the conflict between the individual's value orientation and his occupational role. In the view of a group of American sociologists, "the compatibility of the individual's value orientations with the expectations of the work organization is one determinant of alienation from work." 13 In the light of Seeman's approach, Aldous Huxley's

"happy robot," who is quite content with life as it is, because he has no individuality and easily yields to manipulation, must be considered as free from alienation. Alienation is viewed here "as the quality of personal experience which is the product of specific social conditions." 14 The subject of study is the consciousness of the individual, his attitude to his social role. This being the case, the social conditions themselves prove to be not an integrated system but rather a summation of separate elements.

Take, for instance, Robert Blauner's well-known book Alienation and Freedom. Blauner traces the way in which different social and technological conditions affect the worker's attitude to his job and factory; whether the worker feels free or dependent, satisfied or dissatisfied with his job, whether he looks at it as his own free activity or as a monotonous routine that he is forced to do. Following up Marx, Blauner maintains that work permitting autonomy, responsibility, social connection and self-actualization furthers the dignity of the individual, whereas work devoid of such features restricts his development and is therefore to be negatively valued. Blauner attempts, as he puts it, to reduce the idea of alienation, as framed in the early writings of Marx, to clear-cut empirical concepts.

However, in this "reduction" the concept of alienation is transformed to the point of unrecognizability. In Blauner's view "industrial powerlessness" incorporates four elements: first, the producer's alienation from ownership of the means of production and the finished products; second, the inability to influence general managerial policies; third, the lack of control over the conditions of employment, and, fourth, the lack of control over the immediate work process. However, of significance for the American worker, Blauner contends, are the last two points only, which directly bear upon his life. "The more general and abstract aspects of powerlessness" are of no concern to the worker since he has been accustomed to them. "Today, the average worker," Blauner comments, "no more desires to own his machines than modern soldiers their howitzers or government clerks their filing cabinets." 15 If viewed simply as observing definite sentiments, most likely Blauner is right. However, the very restriction of a worker's interests to immediate activity only is the product of capitalist relations which transform the human being into the simple agent of production. For Marx this aspect was cardinal, while the worker's empirical psychology was but a derivative. However, it is this that is missing in the psychological interpretation of alienation.

The question of the individual's attitude to work cannot be comprehended at all if we confine ourselves to the individual job relation only. Too much depends here on the worker's level of requirements which, in turn, depend on his social status, education, etc. Blauner's investigations have shown that the sharply negative job attitude which H. Swados, E. Chinoy and others observed in the case of automobile workers is not typical of most American workers. According to Blauner's data, from seventy-five to ninety per cent of American workers are on the whole satisfied even with routine repetitive work.16 But this, as Blauner himself notes, is due mainly to an upbringing which induces the individual to rest content with little and not seek more. The individual's job attitude is a derivative of his other value orientations. Meanwhile, precisely the integrated character of the social structure as well as that of the individual fail to be reflected in the psychologico-analytical interpretation of alienation.

Alienation receives a quite different interpretation in the terminology of phenomenological orientation. According to Maurice Natanson,17 alienation is the structural deformation of sociality deriving not from the individual's awareness of his own alienation but from conditions of a social order - which, however, the author reduces to the structural pattern of the social role. According to him, every social role is a complex of socially formed requirements necessary to carry out definite patterned social actions. The social role incorporates the two elements: role-taking, as the dynamics for effecting and carrying out such roles in actual practice, and role-action as the intentional dimension underlying role-taking. In the eyes of the actor the social role is something given. However, the actual role behavior is based on the definite human intention of the actor of the role. Alienation represents the danger of deformation of the basic elements of role-action. For practical purposes, Natanson implies a rupture between the motivation of action and the social content of action.

Far more concrete is the interpretation supplied by Peter Berger and Stanley Pullberg, combining the phenomenological orientation with certain essential Marxist tenets.18 They single out four independent notions: objectivation, objectification, alienation and reification.

By objectivation they mean the process whereby human subjectivity embodies itself in products that are available to oneself and to other people as elements of a common world. This process is anthropologically necessary, and is inherent in all of human activity under any social conditions. Man creates his world by objectivating himself, his intentions and abilities in the products of his activity.

Objectification signifies the moment in the process of objectivation in which man establishes distance from his own producing activity and its product, and makes of this product and his own activity the object of his consciousness. Objectivation is the wider notion, which is applicable to all products, both material and immaterial, of human activity. Objectification is a narrower epistemological concept, describing the way in which man perceives the world he has created. Like objectivation, objectification is an essential element in any kind of human activity.
Berger and Pullberg call alienation a process by which the unity of the producing and the product is broken. The product now appears to the producer as an alien facticity, as an independent power confronting man no longer as the product but as the condition of his own existence. "In other words, alienation is the process by which man forgets that the world he lives in has been produced by himself." 19 Berger and Pullberg are flatly against the psychologistic interpretation of alienation, observing that the typical form of alienated consciousness is by no means an anomie, but on the contrary, fetishization of social institutions, norms and other products of human activity.

Finally, reification means the moment in the process of aliena-tion in which the characteristic of thing-hood becomes the standard (of of objective reality or, in other words, when nothing is accepted as real unless it has the properties of a thing. In other words "reification is objectification in an alienated mode." 20 Whereas objectivation and objectification are an anthropological necessity alienation and reification are not that, but comprise the factual characteristics of the conditions of human existence.

All this conceptual clarification seems very interesting and useful. But what explanation is provided for the phenomenon of reification? Berger and Pullberg transcend the individualpsychological approach, emphasizing that man's producing of the world cannot be understood as an individual action; it is a social process; men together construct the social world which is their common dwelling. Accenting the active character of human activity, they stress that what sociologists term the social structure, is, in fact, a part of the objectivated produced world, the pattern of common human activity. What is given the individual as conditions for his existence is actually nothing but objectivation of the activity of preceding human generations. This directly echoes the corresponding conclusions drawn by Marx.

However, Berger and Pullberg are unable to explain the concrete historical sources of alienation and reification. They associate reification of social institutions with the existence of "some fundamental terrors of human existence, notably the terror of chaos which is then assuaged by the fabrication of the sort of firm order that only reification can constitute." 21 Hence, though reification is not a necessary a priori condition for human existence, it represents its permanent factual characteristic and its overcoming seems to be most doubtful.

To fathom this problem we must turn from Berger and Pull-berg's analysis of the contradictory character of social consciousness to an analysis of the socio-historical process itself. In this case the "givenness," the independence of social institutions from human consciousness, will appear in a different light. While it is true that the existing social structure, social institutions, norms, etc. are in effect nothing but objectivation of the activity of preceding generations, these institutions, norms, etc. are indeed given to us - and not only to myself, as an individual, but to all of our generation as a whole - as an external reality independent of our will, as the framework of our socio-historical activity. Hence, when we accept society as a definite, objectively existing system of relations, this is no ideological illusion, but cognition of the tangible fact of the continuity and stability of human history. The past, relatively "made," history is the "framework" of modern history-making. We must differentiate this objective necessity, which exists at all levels and stages of historical process, from the second problem, that of the spontaneous character of social development as associated with the absence of a conscious force capable of directing historical development. Berger and Pullberg are absolutely right in criticizing romantic concepts of alienation according to which reification constitutes a chronologically later provision of some original state of non-reified existence. However, in their view de-reification is possible only as an exceptional moment of the historical process. De-reification of social structures, that is, their conception as being derivative from human activity, occurs either at the moment of revolution when existing institutions are demolished, thus making it clear that these institutions are the product of human activity; or in the situation of cultural contacts and the collision of different cultures, when traditional norms are questioned; finally, de-reification is typical of those individuals and groups that are in a state of social marginality.

From the angle of an analysis of the common-sense conscious ness which fetishizes any "given" pattern of relations, this is absolutely correct and just. However, theoretical studies cannot be restricted to describing how people perceive their social world. They must also pose the issue of whether the real possibilities for history-making are equivalent in the case of individuals belonging either to different classes of one and the same society or to different social systems. This was precisely the approach taken by Marx. The independence of the combined result if social activity from the will of one or another individual partici-pant, will continue forever. However, with class antagonisms overcome, the social composite ceases to be an impersonal "it," the personification of some alien force, and becomes part of "us." In exactly the same fashion the concrete social role can be both a "given" - since it stems from a definite structurization of combined social activity, for instance the division of labor - and a freely "chosen" form of the activity of the self-provided this role accords with the individual's inclinations and value orientations.

Whereas the phenomenological interpretation of alienation is based mostly on the analysis of the very structure of consciousness, the Freudian interpretation proceeds from the contradiction between the individual's instinctive requirements and the demands of the social system. Though Freud himself did not employ the term "alienation," he analyzes the related problems in the form of contradictions between the reality principle and pleasure principle. The inner psychic conflict between Id and Ego is simultaneously a social conflict between the individual's seeking to satisfy his instinctive drives and civilization, which imposes certain limitations upon him. All concrete social contradictions are derivatives of this paramount insoluble conflict. The neo-Freudians have rejected the Freudian biological conception of "human nature" for "sociologization" of psycho-analysis. In the view of Herbert Marcuse, with Freud himself there develops an insoluble conflict not between labor (the reality principle) and Eros (the pleasure principle) in general, but between alienated labor and Eros.22
Hence, this conflict can be (at least in principle) overcome in social conditions which rid people of oppression and enable them to express their libido in individualized activity (though Freud himself did not believe in such a possibility).

Erich Fromm sociologizes to a still greater degree the concept of alienation, in conformity with a Marxist analysis. The gist of alienation is that "man does not experience himself as the active bearer of his own powers and richness but as an impoverished 'thing' dependent on powers outside of himself, onto whom he has projected his living substance." 2 Fromm associates this state with a broad range of social conditions, first of all, with conditions of existence in modern capitalist society. This social analysis nevertheless remains rather abstract. Fromm provides an exceptionally vivid description of man's powerlessness and self-estrangement. But this powerlessness with Fromm acquires a global character. He brackets together the social consequences of automation, the professional specialization of labor, and man's powerlessness in the face of the spontaneous nature of social development. With him "alienation" implies both the reduction of individuality to some partial social function and the estrangement of the individual from his social role. In other words, the notion of alienation proves to be a description of all the troubles of modern society; what it specifically implies remains unclear precisely because one and the same word is used to describe too varied processes.

Of all interpretations of alienation current in modern sociol-ogy, the fullest and most comprehensive is the Marxist inter-pretation.24 Originally Marx's concept of alienation had many meanings; its content changed in the process of Marx's own evolution. As A. P. Ogurtsov 26 has convincingly demonstrated the evolution of Marx's views in this respect may be divided into four main stages. In the first stage, before the materialist conception of history took shape, alienation was viewed as the alienation of the human substance in religious consciousness In his writings of 1842-43, Marx shifts the accent to the sphere, of politics, wondering how it comes about that the political institutions people establish prove more powerful than people themselves. At the focus here is the problem of state a bureaucracy. In his Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 Marx delves further, deriving the phenomena of alienation a the self-alienation of work from the worker's attitude to his work. Since work is for the worker merely a means of livelihood, the motivation of activity has nothing at all in common with objective content; neither the means of work nor the product of work belong to the worker, which signifies that in the process of work he belongs not to himself but to another. Man's aliena-tion from another man is the direct consequence of man's aliena tion from the products of his labor, from his life activity, Finally, in German Ideology and in later writings, including Capital, the worker's very attitude toward work is derived t the objective social processes associated with the private owner-ship and the social division of labor. Hence, the problem more than assumes new aspects; the very way it is put is deeper and made more concrete. Marx discriminates between the objective fact of alienation (for instance the alienation of the work from ownership and control of the means of production) and ideological phenomena it produces (commodity fetishism. distorted ideology, etc.). In this fashion the range of problems originally abstracted in terms of alienation break up, differentiate and are expressed in more definite concepts.

However, even in Marx's mature writings the concept of alienation remains a sufficiently undifferentiated notion. As Vittorio Rieser  justly notes, with Marx the concept of alienation served both as a means to denote a definite class of phenomena (alienation as the description of a specific social situation) and the means of evaluating these phenomena (where alienation is viewed as something negative that needs to be overcome). This approach has influenced modern Marxist literature as well.

The key question in postwar Marxist writings devoted to alienation is whether such a thing exists at all under socialism. Answers vary greatly. Some claim that alienation is typical of capitalism only, since it stems from private ownership. Others, proceeding from a wider understanding of the same term, claim that alienation in general is insuperable and that socialism only replaces one set of forms of alienation with another set. Still others view socialism as a definite stage in overcoming alienation, believing this process will culminate only when full communism is achieved. The debate is often very keen. One may easily see, however, that the differences refer not only to an appraisal of the present state of socialist society but also to an understanding of the very term "alienation." In the latest years there is a growing tendency to clarify its meaning in order to differentiate a sociological approach from a sentimental one. As Gaylord C. Le Roy has put it, "we should not employ the term as a single key to contemporary reality. It must function as one component of a complex body of theory. To ascend to an apparatus of theory that measures up to the complexity of contemporary reality - this is the real task of the intellectual in our time. We must not permit the magic talisman of alien tion to prevent us from responding to this challenge."

Abstracting ourselves from particulars, we may single out modern sociology three basic approaches to the concept alienation. First, alienation as the universal characteristic human existence. Second, alienation as the characteristic of the psychological state of an individual who does not feel free his actions and who feels that he is a plaything in the hands some external forces. Third, alienation as the characteristic of a definite historical state of things in which man's creative activity is restricted and he himself is enslaved by the products of of his own activity, i

The first, global interpretation of alienation from my point of view appears useless for sociology. Identification of alienation with objectivation in effect removes the issue of the differences between previous historical types of social organization. Absolutely anything can be implied by global alienation. If man has no self-consciousness and does not separate himself from the products of his activity, alienation is to blame. If, on contrary, the self-consciousness of the individual is detached from reality, this is again an expression of alienation. In way alienation becomes the magic key to all doors, while actually failing to explain any concrete social process and being us even for description, since it is conceptually too vague.

The psychological interpretation of alienation seems more definite; no wonder it is employed in many empirical stud However, this definiteness is only apparent. First, the concept of alienation duplicates other often more precise sociology conceptions (anomie, social inadaptability, etc.). Second, it incorporates socially heterogeneous phenomena under one gene term. Third, the psychological interpretation, abstracting it as it does from the contradictory character of the objective structure of social relations, is implicitly conservative.

The society (or culture) - from which the individual described is "alienated" is viewed as something "given," while this conflict itself is regarded as a "negative value." Alienation is conceived as failure to adjust, as deviation from a certain standard. Even rhors positively assessing this state (as, for instance, a challenge to wholesale conformism) regard it as merely an exception to the general rule.

There remains the third, socio-economic meaning. Here indeed we have a tangible problem which was posed in German Ideoloey: "This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, wowing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.... The social power, i. e. the multiplied productive force, which arises through the cooperation of different individuals as it is determined by the division of labor, this social force appears to these individuals, since their cooperation is not voluntary but has come about spontaneously, not as their own united power, but as an alien force existing outside them, of the origin and goal of which they are ignorant, which they thus cannot control, which on the contrary passes through a peculiar series of phases and stages independent of the will and action of men, nay even being the prime governor of these." 28

Concentrated in this formula is a whole composite range of issues: the problem of the objective laws governing social development which exist in all social conditions; the problem of the anarchic character of the cooperation of individuals, which is inherent in definite social organisms; the difficulty of the realization by individuals of their relation with the social composite, and the ensuing reification and fetishization of this composite and its separate elements, etc. It is impossible to reduce this directly to measurable parameters.

No wonder Marx turned from his original, abstract philosophical formulation of the lem of alienation to a concrete study of the economic and social aspects of man's emancipation. This is a road which, as I believe, modern sociological theory should follow.

A philosophical analysis of human activity discloses the universal dialectics of "objectivation" and "de-objectivation." cannot actualize his abilities and gifts otherwise than through their objectivation, their "externalization" in the products his activity. All social riches, cultural values and forms of social relationships are nothing but objectivation and in this sense alienation of man as species. At the same time this "alienation is an "appropriation" with each individual "appropriating" the processes of learning, education, and activity, the creations his predecessors and contemporaries and building up his i personality from these "interiorized" elements. Then in process of work, cognition and social relationships he repays society - with interest - for that which he has appropriated. This dialectics of "interiorization" and "exteriorization" is universal, occurring in any social form. It may be traced at all levels socle-historical study: the "given" system of social relations and the concrete socio-historical activity which is on the one hand adaptation to, and, on the other, modification of, these relations; the pattern of values and symbols interiorized from the soi consciousness and the individualized purpose of activity indissolubly linked with individual experience; the relation the objective content of human activity and its subjective ing (motivation); the autonomy of means of activity (technology in the broad sense) from its inner content, etc.

We would be making a profound error, though, if we regarded concrete social problems as simple partial "modalities" of the universal process of "alienation," thus slurring over the specific features of social systems and differences in the levels of theoretical analysis. The objective regularity of social develop - is one thing and the spontaneous, ungovernable character social processes is another. The general necessity of work is one thing, while its involuntary obligatory character, conditioned by fact that the product of the labor of one class is appropriated by another class, is another thing.29 It is one thing to discuss the universal dependence of people on natural conditions, or the inevitable level of the productive forces, and another thing to face social inequality, with one set of people appropriating the labor of others, or exercising the monopoly of political power.

Denoting these qualitatively differing phenomena by one and the same term only hampers an understanding of their specific nature. As dangerous is the inability to demarcate the levels of study, frequently revealed in debates on alienation. According to Adam Schaff, "the problem of alienation has to do with the relationship between the human person and society, between individual and the various products of man as a social man." s0 But a sociologist sees behind this general philosophical formula the whole set of problems. So far we have
Rieser rightly notes in this connection that it is wrong to identify Marx's concepts of "alienation" and the "realm of necessity" - or the end of alienation with the "realm of liberty." Marx understood "alienation" as a definite type of social relation, whereas when speaking of labor as a sphere of necessity he meant relationship between society and nature. The very concept of " freedom" is opposed, on the one hand, to "coercion" effected by one group of people in relation to others ("liberty"), and, on the other hand, to natural necessity (the conception of freedom a» realized necessity). The removal of the former does not do away with the latter. been discussing the matter on the level of general sociological theory, whose subject is not individuals and their immediate interrelations, but society as an intricate social system. However, if we seek to comprehend the concrete mechanisms of social behavior and the extent of the individual's freedom in society, the over-all sociological approach must be supplemented by an analysis of the structural pattern of specific communities (organizations) and also of the personality. Holding priority in the theory of organizations are such matters as the relation between centralization and decentralization, the mechanism of decision making, the problem of conformity and autonomy of the individual within the framework of a specific community. The personality theory should illuminate the relation between the "prescribed" social role and internalized role; the relation between the role structure of individual and his self, etc.

Naturally, all these levels are most intimately connected. The behavior and self-consciousness of the personality cannot be under derstood without taking into account the individual's group affiliation and place in the system of social relations as a whole; on the other hand, society as a whole does not exist outside and without the individuals who make it up. However, the degree of autonomy or, conversely, of dependence of the indi vidual is due not only to over-all social conditions but also to many specific circumstances in the individual's life. It is fruitless to consider all forms of the behavior or activity of the individual and group as various modalities of alienation or stages of its overcoming.

The concept of alienation played an important part in the history of the philosophical and sociological thought of the past Its present invasion of mass psychology, literature and art is also profoundly symptomatic, attesting to the growing dissatisfaction people feel with their social conditions, a dissatisfaction ao?res ing the tangibly existing contradictions of the social system. Y. A. Levada has justly noted, the category of alienation "is mode of describing definite aspects of antagonistic social oau in relation to its foreseeable, possible, desirable and achievable prospects." 31 No theoretical criticism can "remove" alienation as an ideological phenomenon, precisely because revealed behind the conflict of the "human" and the "thing" is the contradiction between society's potentialities and objectively existing social j structure. However, as a scientifically analytical concept, alienation appears unsatisfactory. It is unsatisfactory not only because it is an extremely vague term and has many meanings.

The term "alienation" serves simultaneuosly as a denotation of a certain class of phenomena and as its evaluation. However, scientifically theoretical criticism of reality, in contrast to the immediately ideological criticism (Antonio Gramsci's term), is at least in principle, twofold: first, it is a criticism of a reality in in the light of a definite system of values emerging as the initial postulates for study; and second, it is a criticism of initial values in the light of historical experience and empirical data. In the terms of alienation such demarcation is extremely difficult. Hence, both the analytical weakness and ideological vagueness of the concept, which with some authors denotes the demand for the global reconstruction of society and with others merely modification of the individual's value orientations.

This criticism of alienation as a sociological concept does not mean underestimation of the problems described by this term or, least of all, the acceptance of a "given" social order as something "natural" that cannot be changed. I fully appreciate the necessity and social importance of the humanistic criticism of The Establishment, even when positive content of such a criticism is not yet quite clear. But if we wish not only to express social feelings but also to give concrete analyses of the social situation and to elaborate certain social action programs, our intellectual task becomes much more difficult. Rejection of utopianism and romanticism is essential for concrete social criticism, in which revolutionary negation enters as an element of a constructive program of activity. Such was the road of development Marx took, and such is the task of modern Marxist sociology.
1 Gerald Sykes, ed.. Alienation: The Cultural Climate of Our Time, vol. I New York, 1964, p. xiii.
2 Nicola Abbagnano, Dizionario di filosofta, Torino, 1964, p. 14.
3 Lewis Feuer, "What is Alienation? The Career of a Concept," in M. Stein and
4. A. Vidich, eds.. Sociology on Trial, New York, 1963, p. 128.
5 Julius Gould, William L. Kolb, eds „ A Dictionary of the Social Sciences, New York. p. 19.
6 See The he Social Sources of Alienation" in I. L. Horowitz, ed „ The New Sociology, New York, 1964, p. 241.
7 See P. Chiodi. "II Concetto di "Alienazione" nell' esistenzialismo," Rivista di filosofia, LIV, 1963, pp. 419-445.
8 Keniston, op. cit., p. 13.
9 See, for example, John P. Clark, "Measuring Alienation Within a Social System," American Sociological Review. XXIV, 1959, pp. 849-852; Louis A. Zurcher, Jr., Arnold Meadow, Susan Lee Zurcher, "Value Orientation, Role Conflict and Alienation from Work: A Cross-cultural Study, American Sociological Review, XXX, 1965, pp. 539-548.
10 See, for instance, Luciano Gallino, "Alienazione e ricerca empirica in sociologica," Rivista di psicologia sociale, X, 1963, pp. 287-309.
11 Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, Boston, 1964, p. 11.
12 Melvin Seeman, "On the Meaning of Alienation," American Sociological 1 view, XXIV, 1959, p. 784.
13 L. A. Zurcher et al., op. cit., p. 548.
14 Robert Blauner, Alienation and Freedom: The Factory Worker and his Industry, Chicago, 1964, p. 15
15 Ibid., pp. 16-17.
16 Ibid., p. 29.
17 "Alienation and Social Role," Social Research, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Autumn, 1966.
18 Peter Berger and Stanley Pullberg, "Reification and the Sociological Critique of Consciousness," History and Theory, vol. IV, No. 2, 1965.
19 Ibid., p. 200.
20 Ibid., p. 200.
21 Ibid., p. 207
22 Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud, New York, 1962, p. 43. "Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, New York, 1955, p. 124.
24 See for example Herbert Aptheker, ed., Marxism and Alienation: A i Symposium. New York, 1965; "L'alienation, mythe ou realite" in: Raison Presente» No. 3, mai-juin-juillet 1967.
25 See A. P. Ogurtsov, "Man in the World of Alienation," in Man in So and Bourgeois Society: Symposium Proceedings, Issue 1, Moscow, 1966. (Russian)
26 Vittorio Rieser, "II concetto di 'alienazione' in sociologia," Quaderni di ""sociologia, Vol. XIV, Aprile-Giugno, 1965, p. 166.
27 Gaylord C. Le Roy, "The Concept of Alienation: An Attempt at a Definition in Marxism and Alienation, pp. 13-14.
28 E. Marx, F. Engels. Deutsche Ideologic, MEGA, I, Alt., Bd. 5, s. 22-23.
29 See Rieser, op. cit., p. 145.
30 Adam Schaff, Marxismus und das menschliche Individuum. Europa Verlag, Wien,. 1965. S. 139.
31 Y. A. Levada, The Social Character of Religion, Moscow, 1965, p. (Russian).