Expanding the Definition of Privilege: The Concept of Social Privilege

Article (PDF Available)inJournal of multicultural counseling and development 33(4) · October 2005with 3,711 Reads 
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DOI: 10.1002/j.2161-1912.2005.tb00020.x
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Examinations of privilege have historically focused on gender and race. By placing privilege within the context of oppression, the authors offer an expanded view of the domains of privilege that include sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, differing degrees of ableness, and religious affiliation. Los exámenes del privilegio se han enfocado históricamente en el género y la raza. Colocando el privilegio dentro del contexto de la opresión, los autores ofrecen una vista ensanchada de los dominios del privilegio que incluye la orientación sexual, la posición socioeconómica, la edad, difiriendo los grados de habilidad, y de la afiliación religiosa.
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  • ... According to the widely accepted conception in the academic literature concerned with this issue, privilege is a special advantage that is different from the advantages that can be considered general in the given circle of individuals; the privilege is a right or entitlement that is related to the privileged status, and is granted to an individual rather than achieved by the individual's effort or abilities; the privilege is to the recipient's advantage and has detrimental consequences for others (see e.g.: Bailey, 1998, p. 107-111;Black & Stone, 2005;Black, Stone, Hutchinson, & Suarez, 2007, p. 17;Case, Iuzzini, & Hopkins, 2012, p. 3;Lucal, 1996, pp. 247-248;McIntosh, 1998;Robinson, 1999, pp. ...
    ... In recent decades, attention has been paid first of all to the privileges regarding race, ethnicity and gender in the academic literature concerned with privileges. Regarding race, these papers mostly emphasize the privileges of the white race in contrast with the oppression and discrimination of other races (see e.g.: Babb, 1998;Black & Stone, 2005;Black et al., 2007;Kendall, 2006;Lucal, 1996;McIntosh, 1998;Murray & Smith, 1995;Pease, 2010, pp. 108-127;Steinberg, 2001;Todd, McConnell, & Suffrin, 2014;Weis, 1993). ...
    ... 108-127;Steinberg, 2001;Todd, McConnell, & Suffrin, 2014;Weis, 1993). In terms of gender, men's privileged position is also the focus of attention as opposed to the oppression and discrimination against women (see e.g.: Black & Stone, 2005;Case, 2007;Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005;McIntosh, 1998;Pease, 2010, pp. 87-107;Weis, 1993;Willis & Lewis, 1999). ...
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    In the present article, I reinterpret privilege and discrimination in the concepts concerning order positions and express them in a comprehensive system of concepts. In the first part of the article, I give a short survey of the classic interpretation of order position, with special regard to Weber's concept of order position or social status. In the second part, I define the concept of order position in my conception. Accordingly, order position is the real institutional position of the given individual (or group) as compared to the institutional position that can be occupied by the given individual (or group) in the general institutional norm system assumed on the basis of the expressed values, especially the deviation between the two positions as related to the interests of the subject. In the third part, I typify order positions from the aspect of whether the institutional norm system that is valid in reality deviates or not from the norm system assumed to be general and if so, whether it deviates in a direction corresponding or contrary to the interests of the individuals. In this way, I make a distinction between privileged, normativized and degraded order positions.
  • ... Often times, privilege includes a combination of these advantages that ebb and flow over time. Drawing on prior scholarship C IJRS -International Journal of Roma Studies, 2(1) 5 (Robinson & Howard-Hamilton, 2000;McIntosh, 1992), Black and Stone (2005) state that social privilege includes a number of key conceptual elements, the first being that privilege signifies unearned social advantages not commonly shared by all members of society. Those afforded membership to privileged groups benefit at the expense of those not granted access to more advantaged identities (see also Rashbrooke, 2015). ...
    ... Perhaps the most important benefit those from privileged groups enjoy is that they can disengage from social disparity (Black & Stone, 2005). Not only do privileged individuals benefit materially from social inequality, they also have the option of ignoring interpersonal and institutionalised discrimination that happens around them but does not impact them directly. ...
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  • ... In the US, social stratification exists whereby people with dominant cultural identities (e. g. male, White, heterosexual, and middle social class) enjoy higher status, power, and benefits associated with socio-cultural privilege than people with nondominant cultural identities (Black & Stone, 2005;Johnson, 2006). Individuals with nondominant identities frequently experience marginalization, discrimination, and disenfranchisement because people in the dominant culture want to retain their privilege and power (Johnson, 2006). ...
    ... Not only did they identify these structures exist, they named unawareness, privilege, power, generational social class attitudes, and the media as reasons they go unchallenged, which are congruent with current literature (e.g. Black & Stone, 2005;Smith & Redington, 2010;Sue, 2010). These reasons preserve societal social class myths that the US is a classless society (Author), hard work ultimately leads to success (Pew Charitable Trust, 2013), and class blindness is preferable to acknowledging how social class impacts people's lives (Smith & Redington, 2010). ...
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