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ALIENATION AND EVERYDAY LIFE: GOFFMAN MEETS MARX AT THE SHOPPING MALL

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 1 June 1991

Abstract

Alienation, a legacy of the Marxian Hegelian critique of domination, remains one of the most heuristic yet ambiguous concepts in social thought. Yet there endure questions of its definition, indications, level of analysis, relationships to capitalism or modernity in general. To speak of alienation raises a notion that there was once either a pristine era of bliss or a Utopian promise of universal self‐realization. I cannot enter this debate but only note that throughout most historical eras people have created societies, institutions and beliefs that have benefited the powerful few at the cost of the powerless many. Yet the few have had the power to construct definitions of reality and ideologies of legitimacy that are reproduced in the everday life routines of the many, so that arbitrary power arrangements seem natural and typical. Insofar as these routines are sustained by habits, fear and anxiety and thwart human potential, we can talk of alienated selfhood and interaction.

Citation

Langman, L. (1991), "ALIENATION AND EVERYDAY LIFE: GOFFMAN MEETS MARX AT THE SHOPPING MALL", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 11 No. 6/7/8, pp. 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb013149

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited