Landscapes of Abandonment

Capitalism, Modernity, and Estrangement

By Roger A. Salerno

Subjects: Cultural Critique
Series: SUNY series in the Sociology of Culture
Paperback : 9780791458464, 280 pages, October 2003
Hardcover : 9780791458457, 280 pages, October 2003

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Introduction: The Landscape of Abandonment

1. Capitalism, Abandonment, and Modernity

2. Abandonment and Social Theory

3. Psychology of Separation and Loss

4. Fragmentation and Abandonment of Conscience

5. Abandonment of Community

6. Abandonment of Nature

7. Dark Utopia: Globilization and Abandonment



Examines the relationship of modern life, including modern capitalism, to feelings and phenomena of abandonment.


Using social theory and cultural analysis, Roger A. Salerno explores the relationship of abandonment to the construction of contemporary capitalistic cultures. Beginning with an array of narratives on the emergence of capitalism in the West and its undermining of traditional social institutions and structures, he provides an overview of both the definition of and reactions to abandonment, analyzing its historical, social, and psychological dimensions. The author contends that abandonment anxiety and feelings of estrangement not only have deep psychological roots, but also important social causes and cultural manifestations such as a quest for security or a hunger for commodities. Salerno surveys important contributions of writers, artists, philosophers, and social scientists and how their work expresses this sense of modern abandonment. He also examines how and why this phenomenon has become a central motif in renderings of community, the environment, and the process of globalization and presents a richer understanding of our modern social condition.

Roger A. Salerno is Associate Professor of Sociology at Pace University.