soc long essay 1 - Erinn Broadus Soc 320 Dr. Patricia Gagne...

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Erinn Broadus Soc 320 Dr. Patricia Gagne Assignment #1 September 25, 2011 Karl Marx theory of alienation deals with the dissociation of the worker and the finished product, and how that affects the relationship between the two. Marx describes four aspects of alienation, the basic one being “separation of ones own awareness of being human.” (Allen, 2011, p. 58) Three others derive from that; alienation from work process, the product itself and other people. Alienation is the resulted feeling by workers when someone other than the work- er owns the means of production. This is often a feeling of mind-numbing monotony. The worker never experiences the pride associated with the product and instead is left doing the same task, day in and day out. I think most of us can relate to such a feeling if you’ve ever worked retail. Usually your entire job consists of folding, and re-folding clothes, mentioning promotions and opening dressing rooms. It’s commonly referred to as “going through the motions” because you’re never asked to think critically or creat- ively and very rarely expected to solve problems. It is indeed, mind-numbing. Allen (2011) describes Marx’s theory of alienation as a product of three factors; first being the fact that the work external. The work is not an expression of the worker by any means, it is a product of direction. The product is then foreign to the worker be- cause it holds no meaning within him/her. Next is the fact that it is forced work. People aren’t working because they want to, they’re working because they have to. Marx (1932/1995) exemplifies by this by saying “its alien character is clearly shown by the fact that as soon as there is no physical or other compulsion it is avoided like the
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plague” (p. 98-99) And isn’t that the truth? Lastly, the work that the worker produces is not their own. Its just another product for the company. (p. 59) Alienation of people is best drawn on Marx’s idea of species-being. According to Allen (2011), species-being is best described as “that which makes us distinctly human is creative production, and we become aware of our humanity as our nature is clearly reflected back to us by the mirror of the produced world.” (p.58) This theory is supported by the fact that our world is created collectively, and as each product is placed into the world (done individually) it represents individual creativity and need. These products represent the maker and because of that commonality, there is a relationship among all of the producers. By eliminating these social ties and blinding the eyes of production, that connection with others is lost as well. Reification is accepting something as real that is not. (p. 61) People have strong beliefs in ideological concepts that deter the eye from the need for social change be- cause of the overwhelming focus on the afterlife, as well as work ethic, meritocracy and free enterprise. Marx details that the belief in religious ideology takes place of class-re-
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soc long essay 1 - Erinn Broadus Soc 320 Dr. Patricia Gagne...

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