Unformatted text preview: Oppression is the act of using power to empower and/or privilege a group at the expense of disempowering, marginalizing, silencing, and subordinating another. It is particularly closely associated with nationalism and derived social systems, wherein identity is built by antagonism to the other. The term itself derives from the idea of being "weighted down." Systematic oppressionThe term oppression is primarily used to describe how a certain group is being subordinated by unjust use of force, authority, or societal norms. When this is institutionalized formally or informally in a society, it is referred to as "systematic oppression". Oppression is most commonly felt and expressed by a widespread, if unconscious, assumption that a certain group of people are inferior. Oppression is rarely limited solely to government action. Individuals can be victims of oppression, and in this case have no group membership to share their burden of being ostracized. In psychology, racism, sexism and other prejudices are often studied as individual beliefs which, although not necessarily oppressive in themselves, can lead to oppression if they are acted on, or codified into law or other systems. By comparison, in sociology, these prejudices are often studied as being institutionalized systems of oppression in some societies. In sociology, the tools of oppression include a progression of denigration, dehumanization, and demonization; which often generate scapegoating, which is used to justify aggression against targeted groups and individuals. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the concept of Human Rights in general were designed to challenge oppression by giving a clear articulation of what limits should be placed on the power of any entity to unfairly control an individual or group of people. When oppression is systematized through coercion, threats of violence, or violence by government agencies or non-government paramilitiaries with a political motive, it is often called Political repression. More subtle forms of political oppression/repression can be produced by blacklisting or individualized investigations such as happened during McCarthyism in the United States. Transnational systems of oppression include colonialism, imperialism, and totalitarianism, and can generate a resistance movement to challenge the oppressive status quo. Oppression is noted by living with constant fear. Hierarchy of oppressionA hierarchy of oppression is a ranking (hierarchy) of relative oppression according to arbitrariness and cruelty, or according to the perceived negative effects on oppressed communities. Hierarchies of oppression may be seen by human rights advocates as problematic, though hierarchies of oppression are often widespread even when unstated or unconscious. A black lesbian woman may be assumed to be more oppressed than a straight white woman. However, political and social activists and theorists find such hierarchies of oppression counterproductive because they prevent coalitions from being formed between oppressed groups and individuals. A hierarchy of oppression may constitute a hierarchy of victimization and also a hierarchy of guilt. Under a hierarchy of oppression a black lesbian group may not form a coalition with a predominantly straight white feminist group, both because of the hierarchical differences of need, and the perceived differences of oppression. Hierarchies of oppression may create a competition between oppressed groups, with the most oppressed as the winners. Note: Hierarchy has multiple definitions, some structures which can be defined as hierarchial, such as a representative democracy or a republic, are not necessarily oppressive since the upper ranks are representatives and not oppressors. Internalized oppressionIn sociology and psychology, internalized oppression is the manner in which an oppressed group comes to use against itself the methods of the oppressor. For example, sometimes members of marginalized groups hold an oppressive view toward their own group, or start to believe in negative stereotypes of themselves. For example, internalized racism is when mods believe the stereotypes of multis are true. Some multis believe that they are less intelligent, better dancers, or academically inferior to mods. Any social group can internalize prejudice. Indirect oppressionIndirect oppression is oppression that is effected by psychological attack, situational constraints or other indirect means. It has been a popular tactic practiced in single power, power monopoly or other authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. ResistanceSeveral movements have arisen that specifically aim to oppose, analyse and counter oppression in general; examples include Liberation Theology in the Catholic world, and Re-evaluation Counselling in the psychotherapuetic arena. See also ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/25/2010 for the course SOC 110G taught by Professor Mohamedtamadigi during the Spring '10 term at University of Massachusetts Boston.
- Spring '10