Social Justice Usage
The process in which groups of people are excluded by the wider society. Marginalization is often used in an economic or political sense to refer to the rendering of an individual, an ethnic or national group, or a nation-state powerless by a more powerful individual.
In general, marginalizing refers to the process of relegating, downgrading, or excluding people from the benefits of society.
New Discourses Commentary
There’s nothing wrong with the above definitions for marginalization, taken from Social Justice glossaries, as they are written. What’s wrong with them, and the understanding of the concept from within Social Justice, are the theoretical assumptions about how, when, where, and why marginalization occurs, which all necessarily proceed from Theory, even when Theory is presumptive, paranoid, delusional, or flatly wrong about what is going on. Theory generally presumes marginalization is either far more influential or far more unjust (or both) than it is in reality.
In particular, Theory assumes that marginalization is systemic and ultimately rooted in mattes of identity, such as race, sex, gender, sexuality, and so on. That is, Social Justice Theory assumes that society is socially constructed in such a way that members of dominant groups (like white, male, masculine, straight, and so on) have built the system so that it excludes and oppresses members of marginalized groups (like people of color, women, femininity, homosexuals, and so on), their knowledge(s), and their “ways of knowing.” These social constructions are deemed to be real, permanent, and unjust and in need of disruption, which can only be adequately achieved through a social revolution that remakes the system in a new way without oppression.
Members of marginalized groups are considered in need of protection under Social Justice Theory, usually through programs such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Members of putatively marginalized groups who do not claim to experience or suffer from their alleged oppression are dismissed as inauthentic and likely to be suffering from some internalized racism, sexism, or normativity (see also, false consciousness, consciousness raising, critical consciousness, internalized racism, internalized oppression, internalized sexism, internalized ableism, and internalized misogyny), or acting cynically in pursuit of some kind of reward from the dominant power structure in society (see also, acting white, patriarchal reward, male approval; and neoliberal reward). This has the effect of ensuring that the marginalized can only speak from and into Theory, turning them into tokenistic props for an abstract endeavor that may not represent them, their feelings, or their interests (see also, hegemony).
Social Justice is particularly concerned with the marginalization of people from minoritized groups in their capacity as knowers and thus of their knowledges. This is a particularly fruitful vein of (Theoretical) research in both Social Justice epistemology and critical pedagogy (theory of education). The central claim is that one of the primary ways in which dominant groups maintain their dominance is by marginalizing other groups as knowers and discounting their ways of knowing, which might include traditions, superstitions, myths, and other cultural beliefs of practices. A wide variety of concepts seek to explore this problematic, including epistemic injustice, epistemic oppression, epistemic violence, epistemic death; active ignorance, pernicious ignorance, willful ignorance, white ignorance, orientalism, hermeneutical injustice, and testimonial injustice.
The issue with these concepts, speaking broadly, is that there is a meaningful difference between science, reason, empiricism, and those methodologies and “other ways of knowing,” which is that they work and are known to work. Therefore, the preferencing of them over “other ways of knowing” and the “knowledge(s)” produced by other ways of knowing isn’t unjust marginalization; it’s just marginalization. This is a central confusion of Social Justice Theory, which is culturally relativist at its core and thus lacks the tools to discern that some epistemological methods are genuinely superior to others, and their power as knowledge-making tools is neither arbitrary nor unfairly privileged nor a mere cultural artefact of white, Western men, as Social Justice Theory has a habit of insisting.
Acting white; Active ignorance; Authentic; Binary; Consciousness raising; Critical consciousness; Critical pedagogy; Cultural relativism; Disruption; Diversity; Dominance; Epistemic death; Epistemic injustice; Epistemic oppression; Epistemic violence; Equity; False consciousness; Gender; Hegemony; Hermeneutical injustice; Heteronormativity; Identity; Inclusion; Injustice; Internalized ableism; Internalized misogyny; Internalized oppression; Internalized racism; Internalized sexism; Justice; Knower; Knowledge(s); Male approval; Minoritize; Neoliberal reward; Normativity; Oppression; Orientalism; Patriarchal reward; People of color; Pernicious ignorance; Privilege; Race; Racism (systemic); Revolution; Science; Sex; Sexism (systemic); Sexuality; Social construction; Social Justice; Subaltern; System, the; Systemic power; Testimonial injustice; Theory; Token; Tokenizing; Ways of knowing, Western; White; White ignorance; Willful ignorance
Revision date: 2/5/20