Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Frederick W. Preston

Number of Pages



The belief that primitive societies are more harmonious than modern ones is "deeply engrained in scholarly discourse" (Edgerton 1992, 2). Durkheim, Weber, and Marx all believed in the notion (Edgerton 1992, 3). Since at least the nineteenth century, social scientists have proposed that capitalism and industrialism represent artificial phenomena, alien to human nature, and that the growth and spread of capitalism in recent generations has spawned an increasing degree of angst, frustration, conflict, and stress on human societies. This concept, known as alienation, has been especially popular among sociologists of Marxist orientation who perceive human misery to be a product of the mayhem and competition of modern capitalism (Derber, Chasin). In this dissertation, the author critiques and analyzes the alienation proposition by delving into its history and comparing it to the recent findings of archaeology, history, and anthropology. The author tests the proposition by comparing contemporary homicide rates registered by modern nation-states with measurements of market freedom in those same nation-states.


Alienation; Capitalism; Critique; Freedom; Homicide; Proposition; Test; Violence

Controlled Subject

Sociology; Social sciences--Research

File Format


File Size

4085.76 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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