The Theoretical Concepts of Privilege and Oppression



You need to revise your text by focusing on developing your ideas by applying evidence,you also need to read in depth on your subject in order to identify critical issues concerning oppression and privilege in Australia to strengthen your essay.Apply the relevant feedback to make improvements.



The wording arrangement in your text sentences is not logical.Your word order is causing an issue in comprehending what you are try to communicate without scanning what your message is.The sentences are too long and most of them are lacking grammatical and linguistic devices in order for them to make sense.You are also mixing ideas in single sentences especially the long ones.

Introduction-your introduction needs to highlight the main points of your text than simply discussing the subject you will explore.You also need to state how you will execute your text.

Conclusion-the conclusion needs to summarise the main points of your text.You also need to provide a way forward for your readers and close the opening thesis statement found in the introduction.

We do not state ‘ in conclusion ‘ when concluding,the content is what should indicate that it is a concluding paragraph.

Language choice

You need to arrange your words logically in the sentences.You also need to identify missing words that prevent comprehension in a text.You need to read about your subject in depth so that you can use key phrases and concepts in the study of oppression and social status, especially in Australia.

Argument/ Idea development

You need to read in depth about your subject because some of the ideas you have included in your essay are elementary and they are not critical or weighing enough to cause a change in behaviour or provoke dialogue for transformation.There are far more pressing matters around your assignment that need to be researched and addressed in order to give your essay strength.

You need to logically develop your paragraphs.Put primary information concerning your subject in the beginning, such as a discussion on class-since this is a primary concern and focal area of your subject,you could set the context of the essay in the beginning and lay a background for follow up related ideas


Analysis/ Use of Evidence

You have not used supporting evidence to support your claims.Your claims are not valid but mere opinions that are questionable.Apply the evidence and acknowledge the sources by using the information in the referencing section to incite accurately.You need to make your statement,provide support,develop the idea by analysing and expanding on the evidence provided and close the paragraph and link the last sentence to the next paragraph for flow and connection of ideas.


Avoid referenced material in the introduction and concluding sentences

Referencing style:

APA: the author(s)’s surname(s)/ the year of publication /the page number or paragraph number for non paginated sources (direct quotes only).

Punctuation in citations

Commas are used to separate information within parentheses (), e.g. author’s name and date of publication. Full stops are always used after the abbreviation p for page number or pp for page numbers, e.g. p. 34 or pp. 34-35. If the citation is at the end of the sentence, it is considered to be part of the sentence, so the full stop is placed after the closing parenthesis.

According to Jones (1998), “Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time” (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found “students often had difficulty using APA style” (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation

She stated, “Students often had difficulty using APA style” (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Grammar and spelling

Punctuation marks create harmony in a text and contribute to the flow and sensibility of the text to the reader

Example: Commas are used to seperate items that are listed and they are used to indicate short pauses in sentences. Bananas, apples,pears/ I saw Mary,but I did not see Arthur.

One full stop is enough to indicate the ending of a sentence or abbreviation

Capital letters are used at the beginning of sentences and for first letters of proper nouns anywhere in the sentence

When we need to show ownership,we use apostrophes : Carly’s car/ My body’s immune system

Punctuation: semi-colons are used to demonstrate long pauses in sentences or separate clauses

Your sentences need to have noun/adjective/verb and subject agreement

Use definite articles such as a or the in your sentences

Use prepositions in order to create sense in sentences

Avoid referenced mateiral in introdcution and concluding sentences



2015.2 ATSGC3848 Insights into Practice

Assessment 1 – Critical Analysis Assignment



  • to demonstrate the centrality of personal and cultural values and beliefs to an understanding of privilege and oppression.
  • to demonstrate skills in critical analysis and research methods in a specific theoretical and practice context.


Details of assessment task:

“We all need to critically reflect upon the ways in which we receive unearned advantages in our lives because of the consequences of those advantages for the reproduction of oppression” (Pease 2010:16).

The above quote provides the theoretical context for your assignment. You must address the following 3 elements in your assignment.

  1. Critically discuss the theoretical concepts of privilege and oppression to show your understanding of the ways the privileges of dominant groups contribute to maintaining the oppression of subordinate groups in society. Remember to explore the complexity of privilege and oppression.


  1. Discuss the unearned advantages you** have received during your life and the ways you continue to benefit from these advantages. Link to the literature.


  1. Identify the privileges you gain as a tertiary educated, professional welfare worker, and explain how these privileges can contribute to the ongoing oppression of others. Link to the literature on privilege and oppression.


* You are required to use a minimum of 10 academic references for this assignment. This range is to ensure you use your reference materials effectively, rather than to simply meet the number required. As third level students it is important to focus on the quality, rather than quantity, of references/sources. Effective use of reference materials will give greater depth to your discussion.

** This assignment requires you to demonstrate critical self-reflection. You are expected to write using first person voice ie ‘I’, ‘my’, as this assignment asks you to examine how your standpoints or positions in society provide you with advantages not available to others.

The criteria for marking this assessment are on the following page

Assessment 1 – Critical analysis Marking Guide

Style and Presentation 2-0 marks (Total= /10) Excellent Good Pass Needs work Poor
1. Links between topic and content Poorly linked to topic
2. Links between ideas, flow of argument Few links between ideas
3. Clear and meaningful sentence construction Poor sentence construction
4. Proof read for spelling and grammar. Poor proof reading.
5. Required length Over/under length



Privilege and oppression are two dominant and opposing forces in the society that we live. Often, we find ourselves in situations where others judge us based on perceived social or economic status. The modern society is divided into classes and each of these accorded particular privileges. However, it is not in all circumstances that we have received privilege. Oppression has also shaped a better part of our life, it occurs when a particular group of people acquire and maintain particular advantages over others. In oppression, a group of individuals becomes dominant over another. The group may be defined by unique physical appearances, culture, language, or ethnic background. In this paper, I will review the theoretical concepts of privilege and oppression and analyze the ways in which privilege leads to oppression of some groups in the society and how this impacts the society. In order to eradicate these aspects from our society, we need to understand it. For instance, within family structure, at work level and explain the historical struggles that women had to go through in the past called patriarchy, are some of the theoretical concepts of privilege and oppression theory.


To understand better the ways privileges of dominants groups contribute to maintaining the oppression of subordinate groups in society, we will analyse human beings. Human beings are to a certain extent egocentric in nature, thus when things are in their favour they often tend to forget about others or show empathy towards their needs or problems (Middleton et al., 2009). This is exactly the way oppression is progressed across generations in society. When people receive privileges, they tend to make use of these privileges to maintain and perpetuate an advantage over other groups. The dominant group aims at maintaining the status quo by all means most probably as a result of having some vested interests. For instance, Australia’s Indigenous genocide, practice of using convicts labor, gender discrimination are good examples of oppression of subordinate groups. We always feel enthralled to receive privileges and hence willing to take steps to ensure that we continue to receive those privileges even in future by maintaining the oppression of the subordinate groups in the society .


Privileges of dominant groups significantly contribute to progression of oppression of the subordinate groups in society. One of the ways in which the progression occurs is through the use of social structures by the dominant groups. Since the dominant group controls all major areas of the state or country such as the people of Eastern suburbs of Sydney, the laws, policies, political systems, and social institutions tend to favour these dominant groups. As such, it is quite difficult for the subordinate groups to emerge from the suppression, such as the working class people of the Western district of Sydney.

Personal oppressions may also have a negative impact on groups of people. This is mostly in the way we tend to judge others which may have a negative impact on them. My attitude towards other people may have a negative or positive impact on them. A negative attitude means that it is difficult to maintain interpersonal relationships with such people. In this case, I will mostly alienate myself from such people which constitutes oppression. When certain groups bear dominant sets of behaviors, values, customs, and knowledge over other groups this may also be termed as oppression.

Patriarchy is another area where privilege of dominant groups significantly contributed to oppression of subordinate group is in class struggles which occurred in 19th century America. It is only in the 20th century that women stopped being considered as property of men. Women were denied basic rights such as the right to vote by men who were dominant in the society. It appears that oppression of women is still around, according to  explains:


“The ABS’s six-monthly compendium of gender indicators released this week reveals an Australia quite starkly divided along gender line. It’s a nation where women are paid less for the work they do, do more unpaid work, are denied seats at the heads of the largest corporations, are more stressed and are greater victims of harassment.”


Also in 2012, 96.5% of CEOs in the top 200 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange were men. This was barely an improvement in gender equality from 2002 when 98.7% were men. Even at the lower level of executive managers, men still hold sway – almost like there is some power structure in place which ensured that the best man is always chosen for the job. This has to stop, because oppression has always been associated with perceived differences between aspects or groups of people. For instance, the perception those women are inferior to men. If an individual harbour the belief that women are inferior to men, then it means that we will never treat any woman as equal to a man. This contributes to maintaining the oppression of subordinate groups .


A key element in privilege and oppression is the issue of power. In order for an individual or group to oppress another, he/she must yield some form of power, either real or imagined . Power is of essence in this. If for instance an individual or dominant group able to influence other people and make them agree with their points of view especially in making critical decisions, then it may be said that dominant group yield power over them. Such influence or power can enable such groups to privilege beliefs or values over those of the individuals. In addition, we consider the subordinate group’s beliefs and values as wrong and make them feel that dominant group is the one who is right. Privilege and oppression are related in many ways. Depending on the context and particular circumstances, we are at one point be experiencing oppression while at another point, we are reinforcing oppression .  For example, United States of America uses its dominants all around the globe in order to stay the one and only super power of the world. It strategically controls the world by showcasing its powers. For instance, power military equipment, electronic media and in sports, infect at every level, to show its superiority, which contribute to maintaining the power in the global arena.

I have received a number of unwarranted advantages during my life that benefit me even up to now. Being the eldest among my siblings, I have received unwarranted advantages from my parents compared to my younger siblings. My parents believe that as the eldest, I have to set a good example to my younger siblings. As such, they have devoted more attention to me in ensuring that I get the right education, moral values, and that I succeed in life. Even at a tender age, my parents would assign me responsibilities such as taking care of my younger siblings. This is despite the fact that I am only a year older than my younger brother. Even today, my parents still believe I should look after and give care to my younger siblings. I have come to realise that I have privilege status back at home. This status, respect and power is assigned to me because I am the eldest in the family. As  says, oppression is all about assigned membership whereby a particular group is deemed subordinate, regardless of the attributes the group has.


As a Forty Five years old male, I know women are just as intelligent, or if not more intelligent than male, but society has given male the dominants, that is why I received unearned advantages compared to my female friends. One of the reasons is because many of the societies, if not all of them, are patriarchal which means they assign more power to the male figure in the society. As a male, I have received privileges that women have literally had to fight for over the years. The most visible is political power which even today rests with males in the society. For example, Australian Bureau of Statistics say’s;


“The proportion of federal parliamentary candidates who are women provides an indication of women’s political participation and of the level of support for female candidates from political parties. In the 2007 federal parliamentary election, 29% of candidates were women compared with 25% in 1993 (AEC 2009). The proportion of elected parliamentarians who were women after the 2007 federal election was 28%, compared to 13% in 1993.”



On most occasions, men are assigned leadership positions in the society since there is a notion that men are the better leaders. From the military to bulk of organisations, men are the majority in the top positions. Men also hold religious power in the society. This is to say that if today I was to compete for a position of power, I have a good chance of getting to power than my female opponents since the society ascribes power to men. According to  the modern culture is defined by male privilege. The institutions, policies, laws, and spaces privilege male interests who are the dominant group in the society. But the reality is  explains,


In the battle of the sexes, recent studies show that women have certain characteristics that make them better leaders—though men still hold the majority of these positions.


Another unearned advantage I have received in my life is fair treatment due to my sexual orientation. The society is more welcoming of heterosexual people. However, the transgender and those in same-sex relationships are likely to face discrimination and acts of violence directed towards them due to their sexual orientation . As a heterosexual person, I am sure that my classmates or colleagues will be comfortable with me. Also as heterosexual person, I can talk about the subject without others feeling that I am forcing my sexual orientation on them. Also, I do not fear that if anyone knows about my sexual orientation that there will be any consequences, either psychological, emotional, or physical consequences. These advantages enable me to express myself and feel proud of whom I am. This is in contrast to those in same-sex relations who have to live in fear or are forced to hide their sexual orientation in order to avoid being discriminated against.

There are certain privileges that I gain as a tertiary educated, professional welfare worker. Due to the level of education, I am more likely to be given a promotion compared to other welfare workers who have a lower level of education. Some of the welfare workers have more experience working with diverse communities . However when opportunities emerge concerning management of a particular program, I am mostly assigned the role due to the fact that I have higher academic qualifications. The privileges I receive can deny others the chance to attain higher positions even though they are qualified and have the necessary experience. The privileges also deny others the chance to prove their leadership capabilities .  As aforementioned, power the critical aspect used in oppression. As people rise in positions of power they become capable of oppressing others. This form of oppression is structural in nature since it relates to the way social institutions favour the dominant groups in the society or those groups that yield power. For instance, there are thousands of skilled immigrant arrive in Australia. For example, doctors, nurses, engineers, accountants and architecture, these people are not privilege enough to find employment until they have completed their required mandatory studies, which is why they feel oppressed under the current policies in Australia.


As a tertiary educated and professional welfare worker, I have enjoyed other privileges as well. For instance, it is easy for me to put my points across and be heard. I have realised that what when I say something my colleagues take it seriously and evaluate it with keen interest. During meetings, my opinions are highly regarded. This is evidenced by the fact that even when I fail to contribute, the manager may still enquire about my opinion . This is in contrast to junior level employees whose opinions are not taken as seriously as it should. Such privilege may make the junior workers to feel sidelined and lead to low morale of the workers, which leads to mental conditions such as anxiety, depression and lack of confidence. It also denies them the opportunity to voice their concerns in the organisation. The privilege in this case is assigned to people who have a higher educational status than others.

To conclude, privileges and oppressions are complex in nature and affect us in different ways. In some situations, I may be a victim of oppression while at on other circumstances, I may be the one having privilege or maintaining oppression on subordinates. All individuals are defined by groups which they associate with. These groups reinforce oppression within the subordinate groups in the society. The dominant groups are keen on maintaining their influence over other groups. This is due to vested interests that the groups may harbour.



Australian Bureau of statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Ferber, A. L. (2008). The matrix reader: Examining the dynamics of oppression and privilege. In New York, N.Y: McGraw-Hill.

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Developmental Perspectives on Behaviour

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