Category Agency

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A form of conspiracy theories where a category of people (for example “the Jews” or “the Muslims”) itself can have an agenda and take action in the same way as if it was a person or organization. Understanding history not as a matter of structures and discourses and organized groups such as nations, but instead viewing it as if categories were persons struggling against each other. (In Swedish: kategoriagens)

Category Agency as a facet of categorism

Something is a facet of categorism when it on some level and based on a categorization of people is an expression of prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, or some combination thereof. Category Agency is squarely a matter of prejudice, a misconception about how the world works: It is actually individual human beings who do things, not categories of people. The different levels of categorism should not be mistaken for categories having agency. The group level is individuals doing things together. The systemic level is about many individuals doing things. The structural level is about people being expected to do things, and so on, based on how they are categorized. The discursive level is how we talk and think about people who are categorized in a certain way. The dogmatic level is proclamations of how people who are categorized in a certain way should be or truly are. The law level and international treaties level is about how people categorized in a certain way are treated by local or global legal documents or similar.

Interactions

This facet of categorism is an expression of: prejudice and bigotry. Mostly operating on the dogmatic level, spreading misconceptions about the structural level and systemic level.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Monolithization: For a category of people to actually do anything, the category sort of has to be one single monolithic block rather than a collection of individuals with their own goals, needs and desires.
  • Conspirationalism: Everyday acts done by individual members of the minority group are seen as signs of the category itself taking action, secretly furthering whatever hidden agenda it might have.
  • Notions of Kyriarchy twisted by Monolithization: Twisting the idea that rulers tend to belong to a certain group (for example, men) into the idea that everyone in that group is a ruler.
  • Biased Balance and/or conspirationalism fueling delusions of Kyriarchy: Creating the idea that a marginalized group is actually secretly the dominant group.

As well as with abstractions such as:

  • Dichotomism: Everybody belongs to either one category or the other, period. How else can we have a rigid "us versus them" going on? Those who don't fit the dichotomy must be traitors! Infiltrators working for that other category of people.
  • Zero-category: It is rather common that those who has this view on a minority does not have the corresponding view on the corresponding majority: While "the Jews" or "the Muslims" are considered to have category agency, "the Christians" or "the western people" does not: The the later may not be regarded as a category at all, but rather as normal people - who are individuals, unlike the actual individuals who are part of the minority.

Category Agency and foci of categorism

Examples of applying this facet to a particular foci of categorism can include:

  • Antimuslimism: Conspiracy theories about "the Muslims" having certain plans, up to and including the paranoid delusion that all Muslims in the world are secret agents for a shadowy global "Caliphate".
  • Antisemitism: Conspiracy theories about "the Jews" having certain plans, up to and including the paranoid delusion that all Muslims in the world are secret agents for a shadowy global "Zionist Occupation Government".
  • Misandry: Assuming that all men want the same things, simply for being men. Also, giving individual contemporary men blame for historical developments (or mythological narratives) that happened (or was supposed to happen) before they were even born, based on them having the same gender as the people who were in charge back then. For example, blaming contemporary men for the fact that medieval laws ensured that almost all rulers were male (AKA classical patriarchy).
  • Misogyny: Assuming that all women want the same things, simply for being women. Also, giving individual contemporary women blame for historical developments (or mythological narratives) that happened (or was supposed to happen) before they were even born, based on them having the same gender as a significant character in that particular story. For example, blaming contemporary women for the story of Eve giving a certain apple to Adam.