To see people as if they were not individual persons, but rather specimens of a monolithic category. For example, understanding statistical differences between groups as if they were categorical differences. As if a certain trait being somewhat more common in one group (compared to some other group) would mean that “the people in that group has that trait”. (In Swedish: monolitisering)
When applied to a category of human beings, this is an expression of categorism.
It is likely to intersect with facets such as:
- Equivocation: Letting the word "group" mean both category and group in the regular sense at the same time, as if those were the same thing.
- Collective Guilt: Treating a category as if it was a monolith makes it easier to justify collective guilt.
- Category Agency: 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.
- Enforcing Cateity: Everyone in the category has to be the same.
- Othering: People rarely see themselves as a monolith, and thus not any category they happen to belong to. It is instead "those other people" who are all the same.
- Stigmatization: Taking an actually blame-worthy behavior, and then pretend that an entire (and actually much wider) category of people are like that. For example - find a man who has unprotected sex with as many men as he can in spite of being HIV positive and refusing to take medicine, and then pretend that "this is how gay people are".
- Unchecked Aversion: When someone has something worthy of contempt, fear or hatred, it may be tempting to feel that way towards everyone who share the same skin color, gender or other such trait.
As well as with abstractions such as:
- Dichotomism: Either you are a part of the monolith, or you are not. Thus, you can't really be an individual human being while at the same time belonging to a category.
- Zero-Category: People rarely see themselves as a monolith, and thus not any category they happen to belong to. It is instead "those other people" who are all the same.
Examples of applying this facet to a particular foci of categorism can include:
- Sexism, on an individual or discursive level: Claiming that "Women are all the same" / "Men are all the same".
- This XKCD strip, which sums it up quite elegantly: http://xkcd.com/385/
The word "group"
The word "group" has two very different meanings: One refers to actual groups of individuals who actually interact with each other and work together, while the other simply is synonomous with the word "category". This makes it much easier to do monolitization, as we can mistake the two meanings for being the same thing - and thus infer that everyone of the same category (for example all women, all men, all black people, all white people, all Christians, all Atheists or all Jews) are secrently hanging out with each other and work on some kind of unified agenda.
a big discursive problem which contributes to the phenomenon of