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the capability to act and make decisions.
not acknowledging the specific historical experiences of a group, and thus attempting to understand societies without taking into consideration their connections to other cultures.
the ways in which populations are divided and categorized as a means of control, often by the state.
the class of people who own the means of production. Historically, the bourgeoisie were descendants of powerful feudal families.
an economic mode of production based around markets, ownership of land and resources, and wage labor. Capitalism has produced classes that are grounded in acceptance of the idea that earned wealth or status is the basis for social hierarchy within a nation.
a system of social inequality based on an individual’s circumstances of birth, wherein people are not allowed to move out of their social group.
a group of people with the same socioeconomic status and proximity to power.
a system through which European (and eventually American) countries exerted power over areas of the world in order to exploit their natural and human resources.
color blindness
the idea that people “don’t see color,” meaning that they are unaware of the ways in which someone may experience the world because of the color of their skin.
cultural capital
competencies, skills, and qualifications people acquire that allow them cultural authority. An institutionalized form of cultural capital is educational attainment.
decolonizing anthropology
an approach to anthropology that emphasizes the responsibility of anthropologists to work for the enhancement and empowerment of those most alienated and dispossessed.
the dispersion of a people from their original home.
downward social mobility
an ongoing loss of capital and the ensuing loss of social status.
economic capital
monetary assets, including material assets that can be converted to money.
describes a society or other group in which diverse roles are all given the same decision-making power and accorded the same respect among the group.
the ingrained habits and dispositions that are socialized into people from birth depending on their status in society; used to explain how individuals uphold cultural systems.
the ways in which people with power keep their power through the subtle dissemination of certain values and beliefs.
a type of social organization in which certain people or roles are given more power and prestige than others.
ideological state apparatuses
distinct and specialized institutions such as religious institutions, public and private education systems, legal systems, political parties, communication systems (radio, newspapers, television), family, and culture (literature, arts, and sports).
the unequal distribution of resources.
the unequal distribution of resources due to an unjust power imbalance.
institutional inequalities
power imbalances that stem from the policies and practices of organizations (education, government, companies, etc.) that perpetuate oppression.
intergenerational wealth
wealth that is passed down through generations of descendants, accumulating interest over many years.
interpersonal inequalities
power imbalances that are rooted in personal biases and occur every day, reifying and naturalizing inequalities that exist at institutional and systemic levels.
the notion that characteristics such as class, race, gender sexuality, age, and ability can all define and complicate one’s experiences, and a single aspect of identity—race, for example—is insufficient to capture the multidimensional nature of people’s experiences of oppression.
a system in which people succeed entirely through hard work and natural abilities. Someone who believes that they live in a meritocracy consequently overlooks any structural or racial inequities that may keep individuals from accessing the resources necessary for success.
everyday instances of racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. that are observed in the world as thinly veiled insults directed toward historically excluded groups.
the anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience.
the socialized prejudice against women and feminine characteristics.
the 1948 displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes; translates from Arabic as “disaster” or “catastrophe.”
an extension of Foucault’s biopolitics that explores the government’s power to decide how certain categories of people live and whose deaths are more acceptable.
the indirect ways in which modern capitalist interests continue to put pressure on poor nations through economic, political, or military means in order to further exploit wealth for multinational corporations and their allies.
an economic model that prioritizes privatization of public services in order to decrease government spending.
the unjust exercise of power, either overt or covert, that is often used to control or inflict harm on entire groups of people.
worldviews that often define a scientific discipline during a specific time period.
a system of social inequality based on gender, in which power is assumed to be in the hands of men and characteristics associated with femininity are less valued.
the ability to exert control, authority, or influence over others.
the class of people who sell their labor and live off a wage, a.k.a. the powerless majority.
racial capitalism
the accumulation of capital through existing relations of racial inequality.
racial refusal
the refusal to mention or talk about race. Racial refusal is a silent form of racism.
power intertwined with racial prejudice.
repressive state apparatuses
institutions through which the ruling class enforces its control, including the government, administrators, the army, the police, courts, and prisons.
the act of challenging power and domination.
social capital
the nonmonetary resources that people use to gain social status, such as mutual acquaintances, shared cultural knowledge, or shared experiences.
social mobility
the ability of an individual to move up into higher and thus more powerful classes merely by working hard.
social stratification
the hierarchical organization of different groups of people, whether based on racial category, socioeconomic status, kinship, religion, birth order, or gender.
Sojourner syndrome
the interlocking ways in which race, class, gender, and resistance to oppression shape Black women’s bodies and biology. The Sojourner syndrome emphasizes that race, class, and gender are not necessarily multiplied to mean more oppression, but they change the ways people experience oppression.
state apparatus
a system consisting of two intertwined but distinct sets of institutions, the repressive state apparatus and the ideological state apparatus, which function together to maintain state order and control.
structural inequalities
power imbalances that exist at a level above personal interactions and institutions and are based on the accumulated effects of institutional decisions across society and history.
structural violence
the experience of intersecting, overlapping structures of discrimination (racism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc.).
symbolic capital
the resources available to an individual because of honor, prestige, or recognition.
symbolic violence
a type of nonphysical violence that is manifested in the power differential between social groups and reinforces ideologies that legitimize and naturalize the status quo.
systematic oppression
the intentional mistreatment of certain groups.
systemic inequalities
power imbalances created by the confluence of interpersonal, institutional, and structural inequalities.
systemic oppression
the ways in which political, economic, and social inequalities are normalized and perpetuated.
the powerful, overarching beliefs according to which the world is organized that influence the ways in which individuals interact with their world.
White privilege
the ways in which White people receive advantages at the expense of other populations.
White supremacy
the idea that White people are a superior race and should dominate society at the expense of other, historically excluded groups.
an identity based on the maintenance or pursuit of power and proximity to power.
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