Psychological Harms of Oppression

Ann E. Cudd

in Analyzing Oppression

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195187434
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786213 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

  Psychological Harms of Oppression

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This chapter discusses the direct and indirect psychological harms of oppression. Direct psychological harms are intentionally inflicted by dominant on subordinate groups. These include terror and psychological trauma, humiliation and degradation, objectification, religion, ideology, and cultural domination. Indirect psychological harms occur when the beliefs and values of the privileged or oppressor groups are subconsciously accepted by the subordinate and assimilated into their self-concept or value/belief scheme. Indirect forces thus work through the psychology of the oppressed to mold them and co-opt them to result in choices and decisions that harm the oppressed while benefiting the privileged. These include shame and low self-esteem, false consciousness, and deformed desire.

Keywords: psychological forces; terror; trauma; humiliation; cultural domination; self-esteem; false consciousness; deformed desire

Chapter.  17065 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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