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the state or experience of being isolated from a group or an activity to which one should belong or in which one should be involved:unemployment may generate a sense of political alienation loss or lack of sympathy; estrangement:public alienation from bureaucracy (in Marxist theory) a condition of workers in a capitalist economy, resulting from a lack of identity with the products of their labor and a sense of being controlled or exploited. 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. (also alienation effect) Theater 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.