A Foundational Concept
Chapter 2 lays out the various dimensions of Karl Marx’s conceptualization of alienation that are used in the analysis of the pre–Civil War people of the Great Dismal Swamp. It is argued that the concept of alienation is far more important to understanding modern history than most archaeologists give it credit for being. Detailing various central elements of Marx’s alienation, such as people are alienated from themselves, their labor, other people, the real world around them, and their awareness of their interconnectedness to all things in the real world around them, this discussion centers upon how alienation appears and changes in modern history. Specific issues, like commodity fetishism, are also discussed in detail and my new concept, “the charismata of commodities,” is also developed. Finally, throughout the chapter, sections that briefly discuss how specific issues related to alienation will be shown to connect directly with the historical people of the Great Dismal Swamp.
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