Alienation Research

Lecture Presentation slide

Alienation MEDIA 2  [accessed 07/october/2015]

What is Alienation ?

Is a condition in social relationships reflected by a low degree of integration or common values and a high degree of distance or isolation between individuals.

or between an individual and a group of people in a community or work environment

Alienation could mean a deviant or something that is out of the norm, the subject could be isolated or feel rejected by the majority, or it could be that the norm just feels the subject does not ‘belong’ amongst/to them. 

I have an interest in the relationship between the subject and the norm, and will be looking into theories that describe such relationship. i want to depict these theories onto our first production video.

Karl Marx

Marx had categorised Alienation into four categories


Marx believed Capitalism caused economic and social alienation between people in society since people had to  ‘work’, to make money in order to live. they live in a notion that living is just about earning money. this divides people and structures them into an ‘economical hierarchy ‘. people take great pride in spending hours on a job they can’t control, they will never become autonomous, but they do feel a sense of independence a sense modified in favour for the bourgeoisie.


The struggle to attain wealth in order to live has let individuals lose their sense of identity. such ‘alienation from society’ is caused as the person feels as if there is something wrong with them.  the individual cannot cope with the system, then the society


politics organise people into separate productive groups, which “distorts the logic of economic development”. parties divide subjects, as the economical hierarchy is hidden away. people are alienated from the reality of their financial circumstances. their place in the hierarchal economical pyramid determines their decision for the party they will vote for.


Ideologies give individuals an illusory happiness. Morality is formed, good and bad are differentiated. a ‘good’ act would make the individual feel  as if they have achieved something, and a bad act will lead them astray.


UCL panopticon, [online], available at: (Accessed on 5th December 2015)

prisoner cell image[ online] available at: (Accessed on 5th December 2015) (Accessed on 5th December 2015)

Michel Foucault ‘Panopticon’ theory, was based on Jeremy Bentham’s Prison model. a model designed to ‘Watch’ the Prison cell mates, with a watch tower in the middle and the cellmates circled around it. not knowing what or who is inside the watch tower, the cell mates reinvent their behaviour patterns and ‘self’. they align and structure themselves to be accepted by the watch tower, though not knowing what’s inside it.

this is an example of how surveillance can alienate someone from their ‘self’ or the idea of the ‘self’ can be non-existent, thus making it a topic of alienation, a realization that there is something watching, though we don’t know what it is, makes the viewer foreign to us.

A good read, regarding space for Art- could be relevant for production stage

space, how we see, [online], available at: (Accessed on 15th December 2015)


Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Penguin Press (New York, May 2011)

A term coined by Eli Pariser, the filter bubble is about how web algorithms, are fixated towards your interest- collecting data of the activity you have done on your phone/ computer etc, and so gives you ‘suggestions’ or ‘adverts’ that are related to your activities. the algorithms can go far to only give you content to the stuff you searched, discarding or pushing away other data, that could have helped or been better. even if the content was not relatable, it would have been better for it to be natural and not controlled. the internet needs to be a mirroring reality, and people need to be fed real news, instead of internet ‘junk food’.

this is another example of alienation, it shows how technology could alienate you from reality and represents an example of the panopticon model. though no one is really watching your activity every day, the internet is.





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