Empirical Alienation Studies: An Overview

  • Melvin Seeman


The very existence of this chapter on alienation should be recognized as a confirmation of sorts. Though many have declared the idea of alienation wearied and moribund (its obituary already written, Lee 1972), the evidence compiled here suggests otherwise. There is, in the first place, a strong continuing empirical and theoretical interest in alienation; and second, it is commonplace to find formulations that make no express use of the term itself but that are coordinate with, if not directly indebted to, the classical interest in ‘alienation.’ This suggests that the cautions involved work both ways: the enthusiasts make alienation the master concept — conveniently imprecise, empirically omnipresent, and morally irresistible when employed as a critique; while the doubters, with equal convenience, forget that dismissing the word in no way eliminates our dependence upon the root ideas concerning personal control and comprehensible social structures which the alienation tradition embodies.


Collective Behavior Personal Control Interpersonal Trust Political Trust Political Efficacy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© H. E. Stenfert Kroese bv, Leiden 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melvin Seeman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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