I. noun — [ mass noun] 1. the state or experience of being alienated • a sense of alienation from our environment
• unemployment may generate a sense of political alienation.
2. (in Marxist theory) a condition of workers in a capitalist economy, resulting from a lack of identity with the products of their labour and a sense of being controlled or exploited. 3.
[Psychiatry] a state of depersonalization or loss of identity in which the self seems unreal, thought to be caused by difficulties in relating to society and the resulting prolonged inhibition of emotion.
4. (also alienation effect) —
[Theatre] an effect, sought by some dramatists, whereby the audience remains objective and does not identify with the actors.
[Law] the transfer of the ownership of property rights.
• most leases contain restrictions against alienation.
– origin late Middle English: from Latin alienatio(n-), from the verb alienare ‘estrange’, from alienus (see alien). The term alienation effect (1940s) is a translation of German Verfremdungseffekt.