Glossary for re/imagining social change

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Glossary for re/imagining social change
Glossary for re/imagining social change
Glossary for re/imagining social change
Glossary for re/imagining social change

This glossary has been created as a resource for practitioners and researchers who are interested in justice-oriented practice. Terminology can often be complex and challenging – it also changes over time and across contexts and can mean different things to different people. This glossary was created by researchers and young people to explain how the Making Spaces project understands some key terms and ideas. We hope you find it useful and welcome your feedback!

  1. accomplice: an ally (link to ally) who directly challenges forms of oppression (e.g. racism, transphobia, ableism, sexism, classism etc) by actively resisting, blocking, and standing up to injustices, giving up their own privilege to help create a fairer society.
  2. ableism: discrimination against people with disabilities, and those who are perceived to have disabilities.
  3. ally: a privileged person who takes a stand against oppression through educating themselves and others about how to identify and challenge forms of injustice (e.g. oppressive attitudes, behaviours and beliefs).
  4. cisgender: individuals whose gender identity (link to gender identity) and expression align with their birth-assigned sex.
  5. classism: a system of oppression that unfairly judges and disadvantages people based on their socio-economic status.
  6. colonialism: Often refers to when one country violently invades and takes control of another country, claiming the land as its own. But can also refer to the legacy of colonialism and ongoing domination of racially minoritised communities by white, western societies.
  7. decolonisation: active resistance against colonial power relations, where power shifts back to oppressed people (politically, economically, educationally, culturally) and indigenous cultures are valued and given prominence.
  8. deficit views: refers to negative views of particular communities that are disempowering and associate them with failure, ‘lack’ and deficiency.
  9. discrimination: the creation of a distinction, based on a characteristic, or perceived characteristic that disadvantages an individual or group. This withholds or limits their access to opportunities, benefits and advantages that are available to others.
  10. eurocentricism: a way of thinking about the world from a European or western perspective, which assumes that this is the only, best or most normal perspective. It means that the histories, knowledge and cultures of non-Western societies are seen in negative ways.
  11. equity: differential provision of resources according to need, ensuring that everyone has what they require to succeed (e.g.  “levelling the playing field”).
  12. gender identity: a person’s sense of their own gender. Gender identity can be fluid and diverse and not restricted to simply male/ female. It may be the same or different to birth assigned sex and gender expression.
  13. heteronormative: the belief that that binary gender identities and heterosexual orientation is the normal and correct way to be.
  14. homophobia: the fear, hatred, and intolerance of people who identify or are perceived as not heterosexual/ straight.
  15. implicit bias: the unconscious attitudes, stereotypes, and unintentional actions (positive or negative) towards members of a group because of their (identified or assumed) membership of a particular group.
  16. institutional racism: the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups, resulting in advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from other racialized communities.
  17. intersectional/ intersectionality: the idea that there are multiple dimensions to identities and injustices which intersect with one another to structure and shape people’s lives. Can include dimensions such as: gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, illness. These aspects of identity and injustice are interlinked and inseparable from one another.
  18. marginalised: marginalised peoples are those who experience injustices and are kept from meaningful and dignified participation in social life.
  19. microaggression: the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalised group membership.
  20. oppression: prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control; cruel or unjust exercise of authority or power. The term is used to describe systems, relations, or behaviours which disadvantage communities or individuals through formal institutions or informal attitudes and behaviours.
  21. patriarchy: a social system of male dominance. It privileges masculinity and oppresses other genders.
  22. prejudice: a pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude towards an individual or group. Prejudiced views are typically based on crude generalisations (or stereotypes) that deny the complex humanity and rights of particular group members to be recognised and treated as valued individuals.
  23. racism: a system of oppression based on an individual’s or group’s self-identified or perceived racial identity. Racism can be perpetrated by individuals, groups or societal organisations and institutions and results in systematic discrimination and disadvantaging of racially minoritised communities.
  24. religious oppression : a system of oppression based on an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived religious beliefs and practices (eg: Islamophobia, anti-semitism).
  25. stereotypes: attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and assumptions about a target group that are widespread and socially sanctioned. Stereotypes support the maintenance of institutionalized oppression by validating misinformation and negative beliefs about a community.
  26. systems of oppression: the systematic mistreatment of particular people and communities (based on their actual or perceived group membership) by society and its institutions.
  27. Social (and transformative) justice: an approach that challenges social injustices and seeks to stop violence, harm, inequality and oppression.
  28. transphobia: a system of oppression based on the fear and hatred of individuals whose gender identity differs from their gender assigned at birth (or falls outside of binary gender categories).
  29. whiteness: an oppressive social framework which treats ‘white’ skin colour as the most normal and desirable form of racial identity.  It supports white people’s dominance in society and perpetuates racial injustices.
  30. white privilege: the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements and benefits bestowed on people solely because of their whiteness. Generally white people who experience such privilege are not conscious of it.
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