False consciousness

Define: This situation occurs when the world remains unquestioned by individuals. This causes dominant groups to remain privileged and unchallenged, while subordinate groups are led to (or forced to, 'unintentionally') accept their situation. As described by Ledwith, it is the "way in which subordinate groups are persuaded to accept inequalities by being passive and pessimistic" (97). Often this stems from years of a subordinate/dominant relationship. Perhaps the subordinate group has tried to stand up for themselves in the past and been repeatedly squashed.
Apply: You cannot do any community development work unless you have the movement of the community. If community members are unable/unwilling to see a 'problem'- is it a problem? If they are unwilling/unable to accept that there is an inequality, then you haven't really gotten a basis for a community organization movement. And individuals are at different levels of conscientisation. You need to take this into account- not everyone is going to be on board right away. There needs to be empowerment among the subordinate group so they don't feel their efforts are for naught. And sometimes the group in power has honestly no idea what they're doing is causing inequality and if you don't approach the issue correctly (i.e. if you ambus the group in power) you could cause negative backfire.
Adapt: Social justice education can be fantastic for young adults- for example college students. Some universities offer programs- however in the grand scheme of things only a small subset of students is fortunate to go through such education and training. That aside, in social justice education you have to be very careful about where people are on the scale of consciousness of who they are and their privileges, etc. In fact the education and training programs are geared around that self-discovery. And once people are able to identify where they are, they may be more fully able to understand the inequalities imposed on other groups. In addition, they may be able to identify that a problem/inequality isn't a lost cause. If you can rally enough support you CAN make a stand and challenge a dominant group.

1 comment:

  1. Adapt: Celine, you bring up a great point. I have noticed that within the educational systems that there is being more of a focus on social justice awareness. Whether it be incorporated inside the classroom or outside the classroom. It is unfortunate that only a select few of students are able to further their education. There should be programs or scholarships in place so that those students who truly want to devote their lives to promoting social justice. I also see the point where you emphasize how we have to be careful about where people are at with regards to what social justice means to them. I think that if there are courses that are devoted to self reflection and self discovery it will help the student to locate who they are, what privileges they have.

    Apply: After carefully looking at your response I came across a theory that comes into play it is called Social Movement Theory. The summary of the theory follows these lines, there are individuals, groups, and communities who are focused on unambiguous political, social issues, or enthusiastic interests. Either by adapting to the change, resisting or undoing a social change. There have been times in history, where the world has not questioned the injustice that is being done. An example of this is regards to religion. The bible tells people that it has been this way for hundreds of years. Who are the people that question its existence?