Alienation is the feeling of being left out, not belonging or not understanding yourself in relation to your environment. Alienation can be talked about in many ways. In psychology, researchers talk about alienation in terms of how well or unwell people fit in to their social groups. This may include how well people relate to their peers in a school or workplace, and how connected they feel to those around them.
In sociology alienation is a more complex and difficult idea. In sociology, alienation is sometimes spoken about in terms of how people understand themselves in relation to their entire society. A good example of this is how people think of themselves when they are working and doing a job. Karl Marx spoke about how people can feel alienated when working and doing their jobs. This kind of alienation happens when people do work that they are not interested in or find boring. However in Western capitalist societies some people may have to do jobs that they don't like because they need to make money. Therefore this can be thought of as a type of alienation because a person's true feelings and real actions are separated and unrelated. On the other hand, a person might feel empowered and connected if they do a job that they do like. Empowerment and the feeling of being connected might then be thought of as the opposite of alienation.
- Bendau, Clifford P. 1979. Colin Wilson: The Outsider and beyond. San Bernardino: Borgo Press ISBN 0-89370-229-3