AbstractThe alienation of man in modern technological society emerged as a concern central to many social issues of the 1960s. In that decade, the term "alienation" was appropriated as a watchword by an assortment of disaffected people who used it as a political, sociological, or psychological concept to indicate their perceived separation from the main stream of society. Not the least of its usage has been in the field of educational rhetoric where, very simply, it has been repeatedly held that the large Kafkaesque institutions that fulfill the function of formal education in our society are in one way or another responsible for, or at least characteristic of, much of the alienation in this society. This study is an attempt to arrive at the meaning of "alienation" as it is used in that context. In the process, it will examine not just alienation, but the family of concepts and explanations that surround the use of that term. Its main object will be to dispel sorne of the "woolly" notions that have underpinned the agonizing, criticizing, and recommendations for change that have been directed at existing practice in the schools. In the process, it will illustrate how, for tasks such as this one, certain modes of explanation are more suitable than others. If this study refers to "schooling" and not "education," it is simply because no agreement at all exists amongst educational theorists as to the meaning of the term "education," while there is unanimity on the question of "schooling" - it is the pro cess that takes place in the schools.