The Alienated American

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The Alienated American

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Alienation is an important component to consider in the study of American political behavior. As a perceived sense of detachment or estrangement from society, alienation is just one dimension of Durkheim’s complex anomie resulting from rapid change (for good or ill) in society, the economy, or politics that affects the social-regulative and -integrative functions of a community. I use a novel scale instrument of items asking about perceptions of moral uncertainty in society to gauge respondents’ views of normlessness, moral ambiguity, and moral decline. Perceptions of greater conflict and uncertainty in the world are associated with greater support for authoritarian leadership and a higher propensity to entertain justifying violence to advance one’s political ends. Partisans of either side appear alienated and act in this way.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2023. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Howard Lavine. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 191 pages.

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Wright, Ezekiel. (2023). The Alienated American. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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