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¨The discursive act of constructing something to be incomprehensible. This something may be a category of people or other concept, or it may be a wider range of discourse such as the argument for a certain position. Such incomprehensibilization has several potential uses. It is hard to argue against a position or argument that isn't comprehensible in the first place. It is harder to defend a category of people against prejudice, bigotry and discrimination when the people in the category has been made incomprehensible. This also makes it easier to get away with an argument that is truly based in prejudice or bigotry (or a behavior that is discrimination).

On a more general level, it may be easier to get away with a very bad argument the more shrouded and vague the argument is. If the true point of an argument is not actual logic but to reinforce a certain narrative, obscurity may be preferable. Such reinforcement can come in forms such as polishing one's position with an appearance of being the logical and reasonable position, or in the form of “winning” a debate by making the other side stop responding.

Incomprehensibilization can thus be a method of establishing and maintaining authority. From the basic “that's just the way it is” and “if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand anyway” to complex models based on circular reasoning for a premise such as the idea that the people in a certain category are by definition inherently bad. Constructing oneself as the only one who understands, while actively making sure that others will not be able to challenge this position.

Incomprehensibilization can also sometimes be a method for avoiding the wrath of authorities, shrouding discourses and arguments for positions that are not socially accepted. Thus, incomprehensibilization is not always a tool of prejudice and bigotry, but can in some contexts instead be a tool to subvert prejudices and bigotries that it in the local social context is mandatory to subscribe to. (In Swedish: obegripliggörande)


This facet of categorism is an expression of prejudice.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Conspirationalism: Making people impossible to understand by constructing their actions as being some kind of conspiracy - thus removing from the equation the simple everyday desires and needs that normally drive people.
  • Dehumanization: It is hard to dehumanize someone we understand, and hard to understand someone while we dehumanize them.
  • Energy Drain: Constructing a category as "the mysterious other", while forcing people in that category to either accept this role or spend time and energy on resisting it.
  • Malpractice: It is hard to treat people right when you don't understand them.
  • Stigmatization: Making the stigmatized group "unmentionable".

As well as with abstractions such as:

  • Incomprehensibilization of the categorization: just like the incomprehensibilization can be done to a category, it can be done to the categorization itself. These two kinds of incomprehensibilization feed each other, and are thus likely to be used simultaneously.
  • Equivocations: Using multiple definitions of the same word in the same context is an efficient way of making the whole argument incomprehensible.

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

  • Homophobia: Redusing to see attraction to someone of the same sex as simply a person being romantically and/or sexually attracted to someone of the same sex, instead constructing it as some mysterious force that is not possible to understand.
  • Racism: Burying an issue of race discrimination under a flood of blood mysticism, requiring "a true revelation about the soul of the Aryan race" or whatever.

Incomprehensibilization without categorism

  • That which is being made incomprehensible may be something other than a human being or category of human beings.
  • Humans may be made incomprehensible to make them mysterious, s a kind of reverence. While this kind of position can very easily hide categorism and/or lead to categorism, it is not necessarily categorism in itself.

Incomprehensibilization in example texts

  • Adam's homophobia: Adam doing Incomprehensibilization on the dogmatic level by promoting a worldview that has no room for gay people.
  • Mr Garrison's Homophobia: The entire rant is designed so that it makes it harder for the kids to in any way understand homosexuality and homosexuals.