BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Towards a unified theory of oppression

    Bascara, Rachelle Dyanne (2020) Towards a unified theory of oppression. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    Bascara Thesis PhD July 2020.pdf - Full Version

    Download (2MB) | Preview


    There is a distinction between the core concept of oppression and various conceptions of it. Whilst there is a lot of work on the various conceptions of oppression, very little work has been done on the concept of oppression itself. Only Ann Cudd offers a unified criterion, but her criterion is problematic for the reason that IM Young identified: it is exclusionary. Philip Pettit’s theory of domination is marshalled and converted into an account of oppression, which unites IM Young’s Five Faces of Oppression and Sally Haslanger’s twopronged conception of oppression. Domination occurs when an agent has the capacity to arbitrarily interfere with another. But the most relevant type of group in cases of oppression does not have agency, so “agent” cannot just be replaced with “social group.” I thus source the capacity for arbitrary interference from social group membership. A further contrast between Cudd’s account and the republican notion of domination is that Cudd requires harm to occur, whereas, for Pettit, mere capacity for harm is sufficient. The group aspect of oppression allows the circumvention of this dilemma, for in saying that the capacity to arbitrarily interfere must be exercised, it does not follow that every agent in the privileged group exercises the capacity. In treating the ontological as conceptually distinct from the epistemic aspect of oppression, the question of how there can be a justified belief of oppression is considered. The pragmatist conception of truth and standpoint epistemology are drawn from to provide a framework for justifying oppression claims. Finally, the implications of this unified theory with regards to responsibility are explored before considering the possibilities for and complexities surrounding the project of overcoming oppression.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2022 15:12
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:20


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item