Denial of Agency

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Making people powerless by making it harder for them to act or for their actions to be noticed. Includes leaving people without representation, or forcing them to be represented by individuals or organizations that they didn't chose at all or were coerced to chose. (In Swedish: agensförnekande)


This facet of categorism is an expression of: prejudice and discrimination.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Voice Appropriation: Denying human beings their own voices by speaking for them without their consent.
  • Kyriarchy: Dominant groups preventing people in subordinate groups from standing up for themselves. Such as mainstream society silencing the people in an ethnic minority. Or the mainstream within the minority group silencing women or GSM (gender and sexual minorities) people within the ethnic group.

As well as with abstractions such as:

  • Categorist Co-definitions: For when Denial of Agency is combined with Voice Appropriation. Those who speak for others are constructed as being the same group.
  • Categorist Distinctions: For when Denial of Agency is not combined with Voice Appropriation.

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

  • Racism on a systemic, structural and dogmatic level: An apartheid system where only white people are allowed to vote.
  • Misandry: Constructing men as being less intelligent and rational than women. Often conveniently limited to when he happens to be horny, and combined with Infantilization (and to some extent Dehumanization) into the idea that a sexually aroused man can't be responsible for his own actions. Note that while this attitude is clearly misandrist, it is also misogynistic although in different ways.
  • whorephobia: Excluding actual sex workers from the public discourse on sex work issues.