Title: Behind the masks of total choice: teaching alienation in the age of inequality

Authors: Geert L. Dhondt; Mathieu Perron-Dufour; Ian J. Seda-Irizarry

Addresses: Department of Economics, John Jay College, The City University of New York, 524 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019, USA ' Département des sciences sociales, Université du Québec en Outaouais, 283, Boulevard Alexandre-Taché, C.P. 1250, Succursale Hull, Gatineau, Québec, J8X 3X7, Canada ' Department of Economics, John Jay College, The City University of New York, 524 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019, USA

Abstract: In this article we examine different ways for making the concept of alienation relevant and interesting for undergraduate students in relation to the present-day concerns regarding distributive dynamics and inequality, especially in the USA. We find inspiration for this in the theoretical and practical importance of alienation in Marx's critique of capitalism and how it is entwined with distribution. We first look at sources of alienation in the contemporary US economy, before deriving an analytical framework for its analysis using Marx's characterisation. We then offer different ways for making the concept of alienation accessible to students in the classroom, using examples from popular culture and linking them back to broader capitalist dynamics.

Keywords: teaching; inequality; alienation; commodity fetishism; Marxism.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2018.092235

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2018 Vol.9 No.1/2, pp.36 - 49

Received: 04 Aug 2017
Accepted: 02 Feb 2018

Published online: 01 Jun 2018 *

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