Alienation In Charlie Chaplin's Film Modern Times

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In his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Marx, 1988), Marx delineates a theory of alienation of workers arising from labour carried out under the capitalist mode of production. Alienation may be loosely described as isolation and a loss of identity coming from the lack of control workers have over what and how they produce. It can also be broadly grouped into four types: alienation from the product of labour, process of labour, the worker 's self, and his fellow workers. These ideas are exemplified well in Charlie Chaplin 's film Modern Times (1936), which follows a hapless factory worker trying to come to terms with his life and work while managing a relationship with a gamin. This paper will provide an overview of alienation and its various forms, and show how they are demonstrated in the film, where two types of alienation stand out in particular. Following this, a modern example of alienation through social media will be put forth and discussed in relation to Marx 's ideas.

In the capitalist mode of production, people are generally divided into two classes: those who own the capital and therefore own the means of production (the "bourgeoisie"), and those who do not (the "proletariat") (Sackrey & Schneider, n.d.). The latter group sell their labour to the former in exchange for wages. This labour is what drives production and creates profit for the bourgeoisie. However in Marx 's view, this exchange reduces labour to being a commodity to be bought and sold

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