Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

On Temporary and Contextual Dis/Empowerment

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 14 seconds

I’m writing this blogpost to ask if there already exist terms for what I’m trying to convey here. I am think of this. Being empowered or oppressed is sometimes a temporary thing in a particular context. It can be transient, whereas other types of oppression are more generic, ongoing, permanent. This builds on intersectionality obviously and also on postructuralism of seeing those different angles at once. Here is what I am looking at

  1. A white male student while a student, is disempowered in their role as a student vs their professors in that microcontext. But in general they have a lot of power outside their context. This is a temporal disempowerment; once they graduate, this power dynamic is over
  2. Egyptian Christians are a minority in Egypt but if they immigrate to the US, they will be a religious majority, in general terms, but immigrants nonetheless and depending on skin color, POC. Their oppression is locational, but also transitions from one of religious minority to something else
  3. Race and gender *tend* to be more permanent/ongoing oppressions in most societies but the magnitude is very different depending on context. E.g. slavery history of US vs apartheid in South Africa vs just preference for lighter skin in Egypt and Sudan.

So I am asking if there are terms for these persistent vs transient or temporary or contextual oppressions? I think it’s important because it nuances how we discuss these things… and how we prioritize our activism in context.

2 thoughts on “On Temporary and Contextual Dis/Empowerment

  1. I think this concept might help me too … in my case, the disempowerment is sometimes structural, but empowerment is possible – with knowledge that empowerment is possible – which is part of the structural oppression. In some ways, there can be this transition … a transition from oppression to empowerment which I think is a really interesting thing in the context of patient health literacy and how it can, if understood in the right context, help someone move from oppressed to empowered.

    1. Great point. Oppresed people’s consciousness may prevent them from imagining their agency and so never work towards liberation. An obvious case is abused women who cannot see a way out of a relationship?

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