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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 43, Issue 3, July 2017

Titus Stahl
Pages 473-501
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201773110

Collective Responsibility for Oppression

Many contemporary forms of oppression are not primarily the result of formally organized collective action nor are they an unintended outcome of a combination of individual actions. This raises the question of collective responsibility. I argue that we can only determine who is responsible for oppression if we understand oppression as a matter of social practices that create obstacles for social change. This social practice view of oppression enables two insights: First, that there is an unproblematic sense in which groups can bear irreducible collective responsibility for oppression. Second, that there are derived forms of individual responsibility for members of dominant groups.

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