COEXISTENCE | Thesaurus of intersectionality | race| gender| sexuality | feminist studies

Oppression

Oppression

Exists when one social group, whether knowingly or unconsciously, exploits another social group for its own benefit.
Individual Level: beliefs or behaviors of an individual person; conscious or unconscious actions or attitudes that maintain oppression.
Institutional Level: institutions such as family, government, industry, education, and religion are shapers of, as well as shaped by, the other two levels.  The application of institutional policies and procedures in an oppressive society run by individuals or groups who advocate or collude with social oppression produces oppressive consequences.
Societal/Cultural Level: society’s cultural norms perpetuate implicit and explicit values that bind institutions and individuals; cultural guidelines, such as philosophies of life, definitions of good, normal, health, deviance, and sickness, often serve the primary function of providing individuals and institutions with the justification for social oppression.

URL: https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/glossary.html

The systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as embedded within individual consciousness. Oppression fuses institutional and systemic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry, and social prejudice in a complex web of relationships and structures that saturate most aspects of life in our society.

  • Oppression denotes structural and material constraints that significantly shape a person’s life chances and sense of possibility.
  • Oppression also signifies a hierarchical relationship in which dominant or privilege groups benefit, often in unconscious ways, from the disempowerment of subordinated or targeted groups.
  • Oppression resides not only in external social institutions and norms but also within the human psyche as well.
  • Eradicating oppression ultimately requires struggle against all its forms, and that building coalitions among diverse people offers the most promising strategies for challenging oppression systematically.

Source: Adams, Bell, and Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge

Date of creation
19-Jun-2017
Modified
23-Jun-2017
Accepted term
19-Jun-2017
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