Essay: Oppression

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This essay discusses oppression. Oppression is  usually used in social research when it relates to the situation of social groups, which we recognize as having a subordinate social position; for instance women. Possibly due to its common usage, oppression is seldom openly defined.

Oppression is  usually used in social research when it relates to the situation of social groups, which we recognize as having a subordinate social position; for instance women. Possibly due to its common usage, oppression is seldom openly defined. One problem with not defining oppression in study on the living situations of certain social groups is that it risks coming to mean “everything and nothing”; identical to an undesirable situation normally.

Iris Young’s second Chapter “Five Faces of Oppression” from her book Justice and the Polities of Difference 1990, focuses on the analysis of the distributive paradigm of. These five faces of oppression confront the traditional focus on the individual in political philosophy by raising a concept of the social group that discloses the relationship between group identity and oppression. One of Young’s central claims here is that the premise of possessive individualism in theories of distributive justice prevents a conceptual analysis of social groups, thus foreclosing any understanding of the way oppression in fact functions in society. For Young oppression is not only a form of direct domination or tyranny, the result of formal, personal power relationships. It is also structural, the consequence of systemic constraints “embedded in unquestioned norms, habits, and symbols, in the assumptions underlying institutional rules and the collective consequences of following those rules” (41). The five oppressions are:

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