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The Differentiation Effect: Survival Instincts and the Origin of Discrimination( file size: 357k )

Silman, S.

Medium Type:

The Differentiation Effect, discrimination, equality, marginalization, survival instincts, power, orientation, hierarchical differentiation, organizational space, hegemonic discourse, human rights, discriminatory organizing, stigma, equity studies, Anti-Discrimination Checklist

Dr. Gloria Filax

Marginalization and discrimination remain prominent and problematic societal features despite the progression of human rights laws. This paper proposes that the roots of discrimination germinate within the survival instincts, the very processes of knowledge-gathering requisite to the survival of the human species. Human beings observe and compare the objects of their experiences, categorizing these objects according to use, relevancy and merit. The detriment of this natural process is the resulting subjugation of particular experiences, objects and groups of people. Hierarchical differentiations create stigmatization, which in turn creates and circulates prejudicial isms within hegemonic discourses. This subjugation of particular experiences, objects and groups of people resulting from natural processes of knowledge-gathering is what I term The Differentiation Effect. It is the aim of this paper through examination of The Differentiation Effect to explain how negative discrimination is created, compounded and then enforced within the discursive context of social locations. This paper concludes by suggesting the avenues by which negative discrimination can be avoided despite the instinctual and hierarchical nature of differentiation and categorization.