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GNDS 120

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Queen's University
Gender Studies
GNDS 120
Melissa Houghtaling

Five Faces of Oppression  Justice: distribution and institutional conditions necessary for the development and exercise of individual capacities and collective communication and cooperation  Injustice: 2 forms o Oppression – not used by Americans but used by socialist movement; central category in political discourse; suffer some inhibition of ability to develop and exercise their needs, thoughts, and feelings  5 faces: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence o Domination Oppression as a Structural Concept:  Traditionally, oppression meant tyranny by a ruling group  Social movements of 1960’s and 70’s shifted the meaning of oppression: designates the disadvantaged and injustice some people suffer NOT because a tyrannical power coerces them but everyday practices of a well-intentioned liberal society o Oppression is structural o “an enclosing structure of forces and barriers which tend to the immobilization and reduction of a group or category of people” (Frye, 1982a, p.11) o Cannot eliminate oppression by getting rid of rulers – reproduced in economic, political, and cultural institutions The Concept of a Social Goal: Social group: a collective of persons differentiated from at least one other group by cultural forms, practices, or way of life; An expression of social relations; defined by a sense of identity  Need to contrast social groups with aggregates to see what actually social group is o Aggregate: classification of person according to attributes  Eliminating oppression requires eliminating groups o Group differentiation is not oppressive; not all groups are oppressed Five Faces of Oppression Exploitation:  Class distinctions can exist without legal and normative sanctions (Marx)  Capitalism = everyone is formally free but how come there is class domination?  Gender exploitation has 2 factors: transfer of the fruits of material labour to men and transfer of nurturing an sexual energies to men  Christine Delphy: women perform tasks in the home for someone who that are dependent on and don’t get the same out of it  Women tend to men’s sexual needs and nurture children and do not receive this in return  Marx – women exploited; they are wage workers  Still have server positions of work, like to fill with Black or Latino people; servers enhance the status of the served Marginalization:  Marginals: people the system of labour cannot or will not use; mostly racially marked  Most dangerous form of oppression, expelling people from useful participation in social life  People dependent on welfare are deprived of basic human rights that others have; authorities who enforce rules over conditions of their lives  Dependency in itself is not oppressive; all people need to be dependent on others at one time  Feminism model: justice = respect and participation in decision making Powerlessness:  Professionals: privileged; by virtue of position in division of labour and status it carries o Requires school and development o Have considerable autonomy at work regardless of supervisor o “Respectability” way of life (racism and sexism – revealing profession can gain you respect and prove yourself)  Nonprofessionals: suffer oppression/exploitation called powerlessness  Most people lack significant power; do not have direct control over decisions that affect their lives  Powerlessness: lacking authority; power exercised over but cannot exercise themselves o Cannot develop skills o Little work autonomy, cannot exercise creativity, no technical expertise or authority, express themselves awkwardly, and do not command respect Cultural Imperialism:  Seeing ones own group as invisible but marking another type as the “other”  Encounter with other groups can challenge claim of universality  The culturally oppressed are marked with stereotypes that they cannot scape easily (eg. Women good with children) Violence:  Some groups must fear attacks from the dominant  Attackers are usually extremist or deviants so not taken as seriously  Knowledge shared by oppressed groups that they are liable to violence  Violence functions to keep oppressed groups subordinate  Cultural imperialism intersec
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