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New York: Harper. 783 . and the concept has a prominent place in contemporary work. for example. and to provide an approach that ties the historical interest in alienation to the modern empirical effort. 43. *An effort in this directionis reportedby John P. New York: Braziller. the task is a dual one: to make more organized sense of one of the great traditions in sociological thought.4 This inclusiveness. is expressed in Erich Kahler's remark: "The history of man could very well be written as a history of the alienation of 5 man. I gratefully acknowledge their very considerable help.' the 'normless. and so clearly laden with value implications. K. There are. 2 T. a flight into faith" 3-in this case. Clark in "Measuring AlienationWithin a Social Person. an effort is made to provide a viable research formulation of these five alternatives. the Jews cause international war). the concept of alienation dominates both the contemporary literature and the history of sociological thought. The work on alienation was carried out in close conjunction with Julian B. an acute need to believe. it seems to me. 1953. Merton. meaninglessness. while absolving them of any commitment to the viewpoints herein expressed. in all the social sciences. Weber. and to make the traditional interest in alienation more amenable to sharp empirical statement. in both its historical and its contemporary import.' the 'marginal. W. New York: Harper. 1950.1946. 4 Erich Fromm. five basic ways in which the concept of alienation has been used. So writesRobertNisbet in The Questfor Community. In one form or another. and Durkheim.." pp. It is a central theme in the classics of Marx.ON THE MEANING OF ALIENATION * MELVIN SEEMAN University of California. Rotter and Shephard Liverant of The Ohio State University. normlessness. indeed.' the 'obsessive. the idea of alienation is a popular vehicle for virtually every kind of analysis.* 3R. New York: Rinehart. 5 The Tower and the Abyss.p. Ethnic prejudice. In each case. from the prediction of voting behavior to the search for The Sane Society. and to propose what seems a workable view of these five meanings of alienation. 849-852 of this issue of the Review. At the present time. The purpose of this paper is to examine these logically distinguishable usages. Los Angeles The problem of alienation is a pervasive theme in the classics of sociology. in the summer of 1958." A concept that is so central in sociological work. ality. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Thus. The conference was supported by the Behavioral Sciences Division. and in contemporary work. The Authoritarian -The Editor. 617 ff. 143.System. Mass Persuasion.2 In his examination of the * This paper is based in part on work done while the author was in attendance at the Behavioral Sciences Conference at the University of New Mexico. the various synonyms of alienation have a foremost place in studies of human relations. 1New York: Oxford. This paper seeks to accomplish two tasks: to present an organized view of the uses that have been made of this concept. Merton emphasizes the significance of pervasive distrust: "The very same society that produces this sense of alienation and estrangement generates in many a craving for reassurance. has been described as a response to alienation-as an ideology which makes an incomprehensible world intelligible by imposing upon that world a simplified and categorical "answer system" (for example. 1 and there would seem to be little doubt that his estimate is correct. 15. The derivation of these meanings from traditional sociological analysis is sketched. persuasion process in the Kate Smith bond drive. Investigations of the 'unattached. 1957. and self-estrangement. demands special clarity.' and the 'isolated' individual all testify to the central place occupied by the hypothesis of alienation in contemporary social science. The Sane Society. faith in the sincerity of the persuader. isolation. In short.p. pp. Adorno et al. under contract AF 49(638)-33. p. and the necessity for making the indicated distinctions is specified. Five alternative meanings of alienation are identified: powerlessness.1955. the consequences that have been said to flow from the fact of alienation have been diverse.
or in the history of science. Presumably.New York: Oxford. the individual's expectancy for control of events is clearly distinguished from (a) the objective situation of powerlessness as some observer sees it. the alienation of man from man. make heavy use of this idea. as a definitional matter. on which these distinctions and decisions touch can not be debated here. for example. in determining the degree of realism involved in the individual's response to his situation. The objective features of the situations are to be handled like any other situational aspect of behavior-to be analyzed. Gerth and C. Rotter's "social learning theory". 1954. though not formally expressed in terms of it. Second. it takes no direct account of the value of control to the person. Of this extension. The issues in the philosophy of science. My discussion seeks to cast the various meanings of alienation in a form that is roughly consistent with this theory. the most frequent usage in current literature. indeed.Marx. one might say that his interest in the powerlessness of the worker flowed from his interest in the consequences of such alienation in the work place-for example. I suppose. Mills. (b) the observer's judgment of that situation against some ethical standard. to treat alienation from the personal standpoint of the actor-that is. a task for subsequent experimental or analytical research is to determine (a) the social conditions that produce these five variantsof alienation. are the central elements in J. see Social Learning and Clinical Psychology. Let us be clear about what this conception does and does not imply. H. Gerth and Mills remark: Marx'semphasisupon the wage workeras from the means of producbeing 'separated' tion becomes.he seeks. but this does not mean that these conditions need be ignored in research dealing with this variety of alienation. In each of the five instances. These objective conditions are relevant. In Weber's work. In this version of alienation. perhaps. The contributors to Gouldner's volume on leadership. From Max Weber:. the frustration an individual may feel as a consequence of the discrepancy between the control he may expect and the degree of control that he desires-that is.in Weber'sperspective.and the civil servantfrom the means of administration. any analysis of the human condition that takes the Marxist tradition with any seriousness. New York: Prentice Hall. measured. p. I begin with a review of where and how that usage is found in traditional sociological thought. for example. the scientist from the meansof enquiry. In these latter statements." POWERLESSNESS The first of these uses refers to alienation in the sense of powerlessness. then. . Essaysin Sociology. The from the soldieris equally'separated' modern means of violence. experimentally controlled or varied. polemic element in the idea of alienation. merely one special case of a universal trend.7 6 The concepts of expectancy and reward. This variant of alienation can be conceived as the expectancy or probability held by the individual that his own behavior cannot determine the occurrence of the outcomes. subsequently. alienation is here taken from the social-psychologicalpoint of view. W. or (b) their behavioral consequences. as does the work of C. I focus chiefly upon the ideas of expectation and value. I seek a more researchable statement of meaning. in each case. as the research question demands. 50. we find an extension beyond the industrial sphere of the Marxian notion of powerlessness. it is a distinctly social-psychologicalview. First. in what follows. this construction of "powerlessness"2 clearly departs from the Marxian tradition by removing the critical. It does not treat powerlessness from the standpoint of the objective conditions in society. and (c) the individual's sense of a discrepancy between his expectations for control and his desire for control. and the degradation of men into commodities. was interested in other alienative aspects of the industrial system. 1946. Wright Mills-and. to be sure.784 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICALREVIEW The idea of alienation as powerlessnessis. 7 H. Likewise. B. Two remarksmust suffice: (1) I propose. ignored. or reinforcement value. or reinforcements. This is the notion of alienation as it originated in the Marxian view of the worker's condition in capitalist society: the worker is alienated to the extent that the prerogative and means of decision are expropriated by the ruling entrepreneurs. this version of powerlessness does not take into account.
I assume that high or low expectancies for the control of outcomes through one's own behavior will (a) vary with the behavior involvede. luck. objective conditions. .g. for example. through his own behavior. it becomes less a description of a single specific symptom than an omnibus of psychological disturbances having a similar root cause-in this case. 1958). Second. they argue. For a contrasting view. though intimately related.in the individual's expectations." "A Measure of Alienation. love and affection. but it was a judgment about a state of affairsthe elimination of individual freedom and control. "Partial and One Hundred Percent Reinforcement under Chance and Skill Conditions. Finally. deviation from the actor's standards-may well be involved. or lack of 'internal coherence' ." American Sociological Review. Rotter and his students have shown that the distinction between internal and external control (a distinction which is also cast in expectancy terms) has an important bearing on learning theory. Compare this use of what is es- 785 In the case of alienation. He points out that the concepts of alienation and anomie should not "be equated. But the congruencealso poses a problem-the problem of recognizing that these two constructs. 148.. as against control over unemployment.ALIENATION In any given research. Norman Podheretz's discussion of the "Beat Generation": "Being apathetic about the Cold War is to admit that you have a sense of utter helplessness in the face of forces apparently beyond the control of man. 1957). W. 397-403. Whether or not such an operational concept of alienation is related to expectancies for control in more intimate need areas (for example.9 sentially a notion of powerlessness with. 9 It seems best. initially. I have chosen to focus on expectanciessince I believe that this is consistent with what follows. 380. (2) I do not think that the expectancy usage is as radical a departurefrom the Marxian legacy as it may appear. in which he comments: "If we approach alienation in this way. p. p. The congruence in these formulationsleaves the way open for the development of a closer bond between two languages of analysis-that of learning theory and that of alienation-that have long histories in psychology and sociology. 3 (April. such as chance. the industrial economy. international affairs. should not be so global as to make the generality of powerlessness a matter of fiat rather than fact. as contrasted with his view that the occurrence of reinforcements is dependent upon external conditions. to a statement that the individual is maladjusted in the sense that he has a generally low expectation that he can. deviation from a moral standard. while it avoids building ethical or adjustmental features into the concept. control over academic achievement or grades. status-recognition) is a matter for empirical determination. and (b) will be differentially realistic in different areas (it is one . the use of powerlessnessas an expectancy means that this version of alienation is very closely related to the notion (developed by Rotter) of "internal versus external control of reinforcements. Accordingly. the depiction of man's relation to the larger social order. of that state of affairs. and I see little profit in arguing about which is "really" alienation so long as what is going on at each point in the effort is clear. the concept of alienation. The propositions in that theory. are based too exclusively on experimental studies which simulate conditions of "external control. 397). modern social organization. My version of alienation refers to the counterpart." With regard to the question of the generality of powerlessness. The need for the restriction lies in the following convictions: First. or the manipulationof others. to follow Gwynn Nettler's view. 50 (December. 1947). namely. in regard to the adjustment question." Commentary. [their] bearing on emotional sickness must be independently investigated. as they so often are. p. I would limit the applicability of the concept to expectancies that have to do with the individual's sense of influence over socio-political events (control over the political system. 672." "Where is the Beat Generation Going?" Esquire. I would initially limit the applicability of this first meaning of alienation to the arena for which the concept was originally intended. are not generally used to understand the same things. any or all of the elements discussed above-expectancies. H. see Nathan Glazer's "The Alienation of Modern Man." where the subject "is likely to perceive reinforcements as being beyond his control and primarily contingent upon external conditions" (p. 22 (December. 55 (May. the concept should not be dangerously close to merely an index of personality adjustment -equivalent. No one would deny the editorial character of the Marxian judgment. Rotter. James and J. B."The latter construct refers to the individual's sense of personal control over the reinforcementsituation. and the like). with personal disorganization defined as intrapersonal goallessness.8 8 Cf." Journal of Experimental Psychology. that is. 1958). . achieve any of the personal rewards he seeks. pp.
1941. New p. as in the popular depiction of the alienation of the intellectual." Mannheim argues that as society increasingly organizes its members with reference to the most efficient realization of ends (that is. Talent and Society. and needs to find. the individual cannot choose appropriately among alternative interpretations (cannot "act intelligently" or "with insight") because the increase in functional rationality. We may speak of high alienation. the Father Divine movement. . New York: Oxford. as in the above instance. Believer. Hadley stituted the "Jews" as a simplified solution for this unclarity). 157. there is a parallel decline in the "capacity to act intelligently in a given situation on the basis of one's own insight into the interrelations of events." ' This second type of alienation. where the first meaning of alienation refers to the sensed ability to control outcomes. refers to the individual'ssense of understandingthe events in which he is engaged. My chief point is that these are matters that can be empirically rather than conceptually solved. when the individual is unclear as to what he ought to believe-when the individual's minimal standards for clarity in decision-makingare not met. in which the "search for meaning" is used as part of the interpretive scheme in analyzing such diverse phenomenaas lynchings. with its emphasis on specialization and production. p. Adorno et al. Man and Society in an Age of York: Harcourt. Thus.. the individual's choice among alternative beliefs has low "confidence limits": he cannot predict with confidence the consequencesof acting on a given belief. New York: Van Nostrand. if perhaps not controlled. 1940." "Family Interaction. in the doctrines of a mass movement "a master key to all the world's problems. op. The same distinctionis found in F. in the meaninglessness usage.Values and Achievement.1951. as functional rationality increases). therefore. and German fascism. it is argued. L."10 This variant of alienation is involved in Mannheim's description of the increase of "functional rationality" and the concomitant decline of "substantial rationality. we should not. Put more simply. Strodtbeck's empiricalcomparison Italian of and Jewish values affecting mobility: "For the Jew. 155. The True Harper. a matter of no consequencewhat the beliefs in question are.New York: Wiley. subthing to feel powerless with regard to war and quite another. and Eric Hoffer. expectancies for personal control of events may not coincide with the understandingof these events. McClelland et al. and the unintelligibility of complex affairs is presumably conducive to the de12 C. It would seem. 90. This same view is applied in the discussion of the other four types of alienation. C. 1958. build either "generality" or "adjustment" into our concept of alienation. for the present at least. in Cantril's The Psychology of Social Movements. there was always the expectationthat everything could be understood. there are obvious connections between these two forms of alienation: in some important degree. In either case.. the fundamentalsense that he cannot control what he is able to foresee. . Brace. Reconstruction. This second version of alienation is logically independent of the first. cit." in D.The clearest contemporary examples of this usage are found in Adorno's treatment of prejudice.The Psychologyof Social Movements. respectively. One might operationalizethis aspect of alienation by focusing upon the fact that it is characterized by a low expectancy that satisfactory predictions about future outcomes of behavior can be made. under some circumstances. but he finds the centers of political initiative less and less accessible.. 10 See. . be simply descriptive beliefs (interpretations). Still. In Mannheim'sdepiction. p. p. Wright Mills' descriptionreflectsthis view: "The intellectual who remains free may continue to learn more and more about modernsociety. . They may. this second meaning refers essentially to the sensed ability to predict behavioral outcomes. then. He comes to feel helpless in Cantril. to feel powerless in making friends). the view that one lives in an intelligible world may be a prerequisite to expectancies for control. and in Hoffer's portrait of the "true believer" as one who finds. for. the post-war German situation described by Adorno was "meaningless"in the sense that the individual could not choose with confidence among alternative explanations of the inflationary disasters of the time (and. makes such choice impossible. or they may be beliefs involving moral standards (norms for behavior). New York: 11 Karl Mannheim. 1950.59." White Collar. presumably.786 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICALREVIEW MEANINGLESSNESS A second major usage of the alienation concept may be summarizedunder the idea of meaninglessness.
But others. it is clearthat imperfectcoordination of ton emphasizes this kind of rulelessness in the two leadsto anomie.16 been weakened.1934. In the traditional usage. 138. in such a society [a societysuffering from the "adaptations" (the kinds of conformity anomie] people tend to put stress on mysand deviance) that may occur where the disticism: the workings of Fortune." Merton describes . Merture." 15 tural breakdown. and so 13 ThorsteinVeblen arguesthe same point.. our informants tive. The very same socomes about.literature. p. '6Ibid. whether cul.wide variety of both social conditions and psychic states: personal disorganization.: Free Press. Merton.New York: Macmillan. 143. live in a climateof reciprocal betweenindividualworth and social rewards. ism.13 situation serve to renew the discussion of the expectancy constructs developed above-the NORMLESSNESS idea of meaninglessness. be To urbansociety. he argues.. that the anomic situ"anomie. segmented sure... ciplining effect of collective standards has Luck. 128. pp. The victimsof this contradiction in which common values have been subbetween the cultural emphasison pecuniary in merged the welterof privateinterestsseekambitionand the social bars to full opportuby ing satisfaction virtuallyany meanswhich nity are not always aware of the structural are effective. What is not so clear is the situation.. .ALIENATION 787 velopment of high expectancies for external Merton's comments on this kind of anomic control (that is.. 14 Merton.He takes as his case in point It is clear that the general idea of anomie the situation in which culturally prescribed goals (in America.. Those who employ the anomie version of in Luck": ". normlessness. .p. 386.they are typicallyawareof a discrepancy distrustwhich. K. cit. humanrelationships. may attribute their difficultiesto more mystical and less sociologicalsources. 148-149. becomes typically ness has been over-extended to include a preferred to institutionally prescribed con. As noted above.."The Theory of the Leisure ciety-for example. .it becomesindrive: creasingly limited in effectivenessas these on The emphasis this themereflectsa social elementsof the social structurebecome disis termdisorder-"anomie" the sociological sociated. Glencoe. anomie or normlessness matter of how precisely to conceptualize the will develop to the extent that "the techni. Structure and Anomie.. This interest repre15 R. 1949. In such a ancy notions.Ill. ModernLibrary held standards and consequent individualEdition.Those who do find its sourcein ciety that producesthis sense of alienation the social structure may become alienated generates manya craving in and estrangement from that structureand becomeready candifor reassurance. . that the anomic situation may anomie denotes a situation in which the so.is both an integral part of the alienation cess goals) are not congruent with the avail. and second. reciprocal distrust. and this appearsto include the great Elsewhere.14 dates for Adaptation V [rebellion]. the extra-causal propensity or agent has a very high utility as a recoursein perplexity" alienation are chiefly concerned with the [providingthe individual] "a means of escapefrom elaboration of the "means" emphasis in sothe difficultyof accountingfor phenomenain terms of causal sequences. to say the least.Social Theory and Social Structure. and the idea of The third variant of the alienation theme powerlessness or internal-external control. or the development of instrumental. in his own inimitablestyle. first. the loss of commonly Class. in a discussionof "The Belief on. Chance. is derived from Durkheim's description of For Merton notes. . and that it bears upon our expectable means for their attainment.Insofaras one of the his interpretation of the importance of the most generalfunctionsof the social structure is to provide a basis for predictabilityand "sincerity" theme in Kate Smith's war bond regularityof social behavior.well lead to the belief in luck: cial norms regulating individual conduct Whateverthe sentimentsof the readerconcerningthe moraldesirability coordinating of have broken down or are no longer effective the goals-and-means phasesof the socialstrucas rules for behavior." and refers to a condition of ation leads to low predictability in behavior. Unfortunately. 1899. the idea of normlessturally legitimate or not. p.point. the emphasis upon suc. is not conduciveto stable But they do not necessarily see how this . .culduct. high powerlessness).in his well-knownpaper "Social majority.Drawn from a highly competisources of their thwartedaspirations.events to which "anomie" is intended to cally most effective procedure.. manipulative attitudes.op.
p. in which we seek to maintain a consistent focus on the individual's expectations or values. the generation of widespread distrust). see R. from the individual point of view. 59. surely includes situations involving uncertainty resulting from obscurity of rules. This usage is most common in descriptions of the intellectual role. It is clear that Srole's wellknown anomie scale refers to individual experience (and that it embodies a heavy adjustment component). In the present context. the key idea of which. where writers refer to the detachment of the intellectual from popular cultural standardsone who. For a recent treatment of this point. Expectanciesconcerningunapprovedmeans. to be sure. 49 (italics added). It is not so clear how the metaphorical language of "normative breakdown" and "structural strain" associated with the conception of anomie as a social condition is to be made empirically useful. that is. This view. I focused on the latter case in this section. Glencoe. the expectancy for socially unapproved behavior. The foregoing discussion implies that the means and goals in question have to do with such relatively broad social demands as the demand for success or for political ends. but it provides a more likely way of developing its research potential. 1957 (revised edition). the absence of clear criteria for resolving ambiguities. Merton. again. shallfind that alienation we from it is commonindeed. ." The idea of meaninglessness." 18 In speaking of "misbehavior" or "mis-involvement. as defined above. Conjointinvolvementappears to be a fragile thing. this usage does not refer to isolation as a lack of "social adjustment" -of the warmth. in his interesting essay. This third meaning of alienation is logically independent of the two versions discussedabove. may be defined as one in which there is a high expectancy that socially unapprovedbehaviorsare requiredto achieve given goals." Erving Goffmanpresents a more or less parallel illustration in which the focus is on the smallest of social systems. a precarious unsteadystate that is likely at any time to lead the individualinto some form of alienaintion. pp. and the like.: Free Press.l7 The fourth type of alienation refers to isolation. this brand of alienation may be usefully defined in terms of reward values: The alienated in the isolation sense are those who. the distinction (discussed above under "powerlessness") between objective condition and individual expectancy applies in the case of anomie. 19 Nettler. 10 (February.788 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICALREVIEW perhaps we can learn something about the way in which he can become alienated from things that take much more of his time. op. Such a view of anomie. It may be further noted that the idea of rulelessness has often been used to refer to situations in which norms are unclear as well as to those in which norms lose their regulative force. ISOLATION sents our third variant of alienation.. Goffman describes four such "mis-involvements" (for example. Obviously. the anomic situation. K. 17 Human Relations. Following Merton's lead. may be cast in terms of expectancies." Goffmanis treating the problem of alienation in terms not far removed from the anomic feature I have described. p. the conditions for their development. Social Theory and Social Structure. Sincewe are dealingwith obligatory volvement. in Nettler's language. Ill. presumably. can vary independently of the individual's expectancy that his own behavior will determine his success in reaching a goal (what I have called 'powerlessness") or his belief that he operates in an intellectually comprehensible world ("meaninglessness"). I believe. p. but the former aspect of anomie is contained in the idea of "meaninglessness. His analysis of the social microcosm in these terms calls attention once more to the fact that the five variants of alienation discussed here can be applied to as broad or as narrow a range of social behavior as seems useful. 1957). 161-194.forms of alienationwill constitute misbehavior a kind that can be calledmisof involvement. cit. 18 Ibid. has become estranged from his society and the culture it carries. and their consequences either for the individual or for a given social system (for example. or intensity of an individual's social contacts. like the intellectual."9 Clearly.. 672. security.being too self-conscious in interaction). narrows the evocative character of the concept. the simple conversation: If we take conjoint spontaneousinvolvement in a topic of conversation a point of as reference. and concludes: "By looking at the ways in which individuals can be thrownout of step with the sociable moment. with standard points of weaknessand decay. "Alienation from Interaction. However. makes possible the discovery of the extent to which such expectanciesare held.
Included. Clearly. isolation.. for two reasons. and in time a full circle is made: One makes an instrument of himself and is estranged from It also. It presupposes alienation from reigning goals and standards. later. and as such seems irrelevantto the root historicalnotion of alienation. because her personality becomes the instrument of an alien purpose. the salesgirl becomes self-alienated.First. (See Dwight Dean.. He has become. the alienationis from reigningcentralfeaturesof the society..22 In much the same way. 188. op.ALIENATION assign low reward value to goals or beliefs that are typically highly valued in the given society. The most extended treatment of this version of alienation is found in The Sane Society. and a pp." 23 There are two interesting features of this popular doctrine of alienation as self-estrangement. where Fromm writes: In the followinganalysisI have chosenthe concept of alienation as the central point from which I am going to developthe analysocial character. estrangedfrom himself. To speak of "alienation from the self" is after all simply a metaphor.e. and what is sought is a "greatly"modified society. like the other versions. in a way that "alienation from popular culture. cit. 22Fromm. A scale to measuresocial isolation has and meaninglessness) (as well as powerlessness been developedby Dean.) It seems to me now. But another adjustment pattern-that of "rebellion"-more closely approximates what I have called "isolation. the "isolation"mode of alienation. "Men are estranged from one another as each secretly tries to make an instrument of the other. Wright Mills comments: "In the normal course of her work. but who values the society's tolerancefor such difto commitment a ferences. of is the kind of tenuousness social ties that may be describedas value uniqueness(isolation). for example. sis of the contemporary By alienationis meant a mode of experience himselfas an in whichthe personexperiences alien.e. 144-145. the crucial part of this "social isolation" componentin alienation-what Nisbet. however.. but the meaningsare not the same as those given here." Ph. thesis. 110. deals with the individual's friendship status. is the question "Do you read Reader's Digest?". these alternative meanings can be profitably applied in conjunction with one another in the analysis of a given state of affairs. in which the individual innovates culturally disapproved means to achieve the goals in question. 1956. "Alienation and Political Apathy. in effect.. 675. Merton's paper on social structure and anomie makes use of both "normlessness" and "isolation" in depicting the adaptations that individualsmay make to the situation in which goals and means are not well coordinated. that is to say.Mertonis describing radicalestrangement from societal values (often typified in the case of the intellectual)-i. pp. some people are sociableand some are not). Thus. the "socialisolation" measure."SocialStructure Anomie. a magazine that was selected "as a symbol of popular magazine appeal and folkish thoughtways. 23 Mills."op. op. C. Presumably. is the definition of alienation in Nettler's scale. or calls the "unattached" the "isolated"-is better captured for analytical purposes.That is to after sheersociabilityis removed. Still. ideas of meaninglessness. can be applied on the intimate or the grand scale. it comes very close to being a statement of either social adjustment or of simple in differences associationalstyles (i."21 SELF-ESTRANGEMENT The final variant distinguishable in the literature is alienation in the sense of selfestrangement.D. what remains.the person who rejects certain commonly held values in a given society. the like. 184. need not be. as noted above in the discussion of Goffman'sanalysis.is expressing fundamental societalvalues and in this degreehe is not alienated in the isolationsense. The first of these is the fact that where the usage does not overlap with the other four meanings (and it often does). social structure. it is difficult to specify what the alienation is from. cit. or as definedin expectancy rewardterms. p." "This adaptation [rebellion] leads men outside the environing social structure to envisage and seek to bring 20 Ibid. . 789 into being a new. for as a measure of "apartness from society" the scale consists (largely though not exclusively) of items that reflect the individual's degree of commitmentto popular culture. 120. that this is not a very useful meaning. The latter can be 21Merton. This. for example. One of these adaptations-that of the "innovator"-is the prototype of alienation in the sense of normlessness... in the or normlessness. pp."20 The "isolation" version of alienation clearly carries a meaning different from the three versions discussed above. say. cit.I believe.. a greatly modified. Second.." for example. for example. Ohio State University. one might say." and. deviation or from approvedmeans (normlessness).
Riesman's discussion of other-direction falls within this meaning of alienation. it is sometimes the individual's standard that is at issue: to be alienated in this sense is to be aware of a discrepancy between one's ideal self and one's actual self-image. of course. In these terms.. "Obstacles to Creativity. whatever it may be. though not very useful in the non-analytical form it generally takes. Tumin. 11 (Summer. is valued for itself. op. for example. for example.790 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICALREVIEW I refer to that aspect of self-alienation which is generally characterized as the loss of intrinsic meaning or pride in work. 1956. p. The difficulty of providing intrinsically satisfying work in industrial society. it seems to me. 1950. no work he has done.. 24 Fromm. "Behavior as 'Intrinsically' Regulated: Work Notes Toward a Pre-Theory of Phenomena Called 'Motivational. no inheritance of name or talent. The Lonely Crowd. Nebraska Symnposium on Motivation. For a more psychological view of the problem of "intrinsically" governed behavior. . a loss which Marx and others have held to be an essential feature of modern alienation. And I have implied that such comparisons of modern man with some idealized human condition should be viewed simply as rhetorical appeals to nature-an important rhetoric for some purposes. A similar idea has been applied by Tumin to the definition of creativity: "I would follow Dewey's lead and view 'creativity' as the esthetic experience. clearest in Fromm's treatment. cit. This notion of the loss of intrinsically meaningful satisfactions is embodied in a number of ways in current discussions of alienation. One way to state such a meaning is to see alienation as the degree of dependence of the given behavior upon anticipated future rewards. Koch. Boston: Beacon Press. Glazer."' in M. be recast into more manageable social learning terms. 42-87. but what is intended when Fromm.27 Glazer. but 25 only for its effect on others. or the other-directedtype who acts "only for its effect on others"-all these (at differentlevels. R. Hoffer. . Riesman's comment brings us to the second feature of special interest in the idea of self-alienation. see S. and the others speak of selfestrangement? Apparently. New Haven: Yale University Press. in his description of production and consumption excesses in capitalist society: "The human way of acquiring would be to make an effort qualitatively commensurate with what I acquire. as I have tried to do above. In this view.. cit. that is. which is distinguished from other experiences by the fact that it is self-consummatory in nature. perhaps. rather than for its instrumental results or social accompaniments in the form of social relations with others. op. 49. conformist. contrasts the alienated society with simpler societies characterized by "spontaneousacts of work and play which were their own reward."24 To be self-alienated. no possession he owns. for example. pp. But Riesman's assertion contains.. 26 27 reasonably specified. Although the idea of self-estrangement. has been the subject of extensive comment. Work and Its Discontents. indeed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. given to appearances. the basic idea contained in the rhetoric of self-estrangement-the idea of intrinsically meaningful activity-can. 134 (italics in original). p. upon rewards that lie outside the activity itself."26 Although this meaning of alienation is difficult to specify. the esthetic experience is enjoyed for the actions which define and constitute the experience. self-consummatory-activities that engage him." Etc. one of the key elements of this rhetoric-one. in the final analysis. 1956. This is to say. what has been called self-estrangement refers essentially to the inability of the individual to find self-rewarding-or in Dewey's phrase. the housewife who cooks simply to get it over with. But our craving for consumptionhas lost all connection with the real needs of man. means to be something less than one might ideally be if the circumstances in society were otherwise-to be insecure.. p. Mills. This is.: A Review of General Semantics. what is being postulated here is some ideal human condition from which the individual is estranged. I have noted that this idea invokes some explicit or implicit human ideal. 131. . Jones. 379. . usually carries the notion of a generally applicable human standard. perhaps. the worker who works merely for his salary. pp. 1954). when used in the alienation literature." Melvin M. again) are instances of self-estrangement. 261. for what is at stake is that the child learns "that nothing in his character. editor. see. 25 David Riesman. that not only reflects the original interest of Marx in alienation but also one that may be specifiable in a language consistent with our other uses of alienation. Daniel Bell.
once together. language is more traditional than it may 28 Glazer. Glencoe: Free Press. on the one hand. his specifications for the "rational bureaucracy"represent not so much a system of analytical categories as they do an attempt to capture the "spirit" of contem- . at first reading. but that (c) rational variables are negatively associated with bureaucratic variables. the breaking of the seamless I believe."BUREAUCRACY" AND "RATIONALITY" CONCLUSION 791 that tradition when. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss some of these consequences. together with certain problems to which they lead. "split personality" as sociologist. his specifications for the "rational bureaucracy" superficially resemble the categories of a model. behavior. It may seem. op. he speaks of our modern ". second. and second. cit. and expectancy-are to alienation. From a sociological point of view. first.tions were once cast into interlocking ness"). pp. to dis. 601-610. Nathan Glazer certainly is well within "BUREAUCRACY" AND "RATIONALITY" IN WEBER'S ORGANIZATION THEORY: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY STANLEY H. on the other. Yale University Seven of Max Weber's ideal-typical specifications for "rational bureaucracy" are reformulated as a system of three "bureaucratic" and four "rational" variables.mold in which values." and. JR. And. (b) rational variables are positively associated. from a transcendental idealist point of view. p. in a summary essay on alienation. has from time to time occasioned comment in the literature. 1949.forms.' This duality of posture in Weber's work appears in particular to have had some rather interesting consequences for the lines along which contemporary organization theory has developed. AX WEBER'S 1 See Talcott Parsons. in the attempted solution of "self.and expectaestrangement"and the idea of "meaningless. But I have attempted. In this sense. It is proposed that (a) bureaucratic variables are positively associated. This hypothesis is supported by a comparative analysis of 150 formal organizations in 150 nonindustrial societies.often experienced when we translate what tations and rewards-is somewhat strange. the reader will meanings. the development of a general organizational model.. first. Yet on closer scrutiny they prove to be alleged concrete attributes. on closer inspection. that the find only that initial strangeness which is language employed-the language of expec. and to explore a possible solution to these problems through a small empirical study. and transcendental idealist historian. Such a model is proposed in outline and illustrated from the descriptive industrial sociological literature. Weber himself treats ideal types as substantive conclusions rather than methodologicaltools. 378 (italics added)."28 These same three concepts-retinguish the meanings that have been given ward value. indeed. Perhaps. the use of the concept "informal organization. I am aware that there are unclarities and difficulties of considerable importance in sense of the splitting asunder of what was these five varieties of alienation (especially. UDY. if was sentimentally understood into a secular not misguided. But I would urge that the question. to work toward a key elements in the theory that underlies the more useful conception of each of these present characterization of alienation. behavior. rather than variables or categories in a classificatory scheme. The Structure of Social Action. Implications of the findings are explored for. seem. The dual nature of Weber's approach is perhaps nowhere so apparent as in his use of ideal types in the analysis of administrative structure. using data largely from the Human Relations Area Files.
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