Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael A. Peters

Alienation and Learning

  • Julian Williams
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_674-1



In addressing “alienation and learning” one must aim to clarify the way that learning in practice can be alienated, and so how learners can be alienated from learning, in the classic sense of Marx, which will be explained. Ultimately, this questions the nature of the experience of “learning” as it is commonly understood, i.e., as a benefit to the individual learner in particular and to humanity in general, rather than an alienating process in itself.

The relevant history of the concept of alienation begins with the philosophers G.W.F. Hegel and K. Marx, where it is applied to all activity, or labor, and so to learning activity. The root term “alien” comes from the notion of “other,” so “othering” is implicit in its various senses in the term. Before Hegel, one can find the term used in relevant and interesting ways – alienation as a legal concept was used to describe the handing over or taking away of property from one owner to another....

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada