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essentialism

A perspective that assumes that aspects of our identities are innate. We are
born with them and they remain fundamentally unchanged throughout our
lives.
social constructionism
A perspective that argues that our identities are the product of the interplay
between individual, cultural, and social structures.
social status
The position a person has within a society’s hierarchy.
achieved status
A social status that is a result of an individual’s work, accomplishments, and/or
abilities.
ascribed status
A social status assigned to an individual from birth. It is not chosen and cannot
easily be changed.
roles
The social and behavioural expectations assigned to different status
categories.
socialization
The process, through interactions with others, by which we come to
understand different social statuses and the roles, or behavioural expectations.
looking-glass self
The theory that our ideas about our identity are formed through the way we
imagine we are seen by others.
front stage behaviour
According to the dramaturgical approach, the behaviour that we exhibit when
in public or around less familiar acquaintances.
back stage behaviour
According to the dramaturgical approach, the behaviour that we exhibit only
when alone or around more intimate acquaintances.
prejudice
Preconceived negative opinions about individuals or groups.
discrimination
An act that has the intent or effect of negatively affecting others based on
grounds other than merit or acquired skills.
intersectionality
The experience, or potential experience,

of multiple forms of discrimination based

on the intersection of different social statuses.
stereotype threat
The effect of negative stereotypes on an individual’s performance or
behaviour.
sex
A term used to describe the biological and anatomical differences between
females and males.
intersex
A term used to refer to people whose biological sex characteristics do not fit
into the typical definitions of male or female.
gender
The roles of masculinity and femininity that we feel or are expected

to play—to perform— based on our sex.
gender inequality
Unequal perceptions, treatment, and status of groups based on their gender
category.
sexuality
An individual’s sexual preferences and orientation.
race
The “socially constructed classification of human beings based on identified or
perceived characteristics such
as colour of skin and informed by historical and geographical context; it is not
a biological classification. It is often the basis upon which groups
are formed, agency is attained, social roles are assigned and status is
conferred” (James, 2010, p. 285)
ethnocentrism
The tendency to believe one’s own culture is superior and evaluate all others in
comparison.
inclusion
The act of establishing an environment that fosters diversity where all members
of that society are believed
to be equally valued contributors and participants (Anzovino & Boutilier,
2015).
multiculturalism
The “practice of creating harmonious relations between different cultural
groups as an ideology and policy to promote cultural diversity” (Anzovino &
Boutilier, 2015, p. 3).
tokenism
The “practice of including one or a small number of members

of a minority group to create the appearance of representation, inclusion, and
non- discrimination, without ever giving these members access to
power” (Anzovino & Boutilier, 2015, p. 6).
social inequality
Difference in the treatment of people on the basis of class, gender, age, ability,
race, ethnicity, or citizenship. Generally involves restricting people’s full
participation in society and limiting resources and opportunities, affecting
quality of life (McPherson, 2013,

p. 112).
equity
Promotes the differential treatment of individuals based on need, taking into
consideration circumstances, experiences, background, history, and so on.
Equity is focused on achieving equality in the outcome.
social justice
“Full and equal participation of all groups in a society

that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Includes a vision of society in
which the distribution of resources [and opportunities] is equitable” (Adams
et al., 1997, p. 3).
social stratification
Refers to “the hierarchal arrangement of large social groups on the basis of
their control over basic resources” (Kendall, 2010, p. 214).
dominant groups
Those “characterized by a disproportionately large share of power, wealth, and
social status” (Jianghe & Rosenthal, 2009).
class
The “relative location

of a person or group within a larger society, based on wealth, power, prestige,
or other valued resources” (Kendall et al., 2007, p. 655).
barriers
These “policies

or practices that prevent full and equal participation in society; barriers can be
physical, social, attitudinal, organizational, technological, or
informational” (Anzovino & Boutilier, 2015, p. 262).
social action
Individual or group behaviour that involves interaction with other individuals
or groups, especially organized action towards social reform. Social action is
an action by a group of people directed toward a better societal end.
activist
An individual who devotes time to work either paid or unpaid to bring about
social change.
misogynistic
A person or organization that hates, distrusts, or mistreats women.
international aid
(also known as foreign aid, or development) The transfer of resources—money,
goods, expertise— from a country or large organization to a recipient country
in order to help them emerge from poverty.
charity
Aid given to those in need. This could be done on an individual basis or by an
institution or organization engaged in relief services for the poor and
underprivileged in society.
grassroots organizations
Social activism at a local or community level. Grassroots organizations tend to
work through existing political structures to promote social change.
online activism
Also known as cyberactivism or digital activism, uses Internet- based
communication techniques to manage and promote activism of any type.
fair trade
An ethical business model where producers and labourers are

paid a living wage

and work in safe and humane conditions, and products are made using
environmentally sustainable methods.
social movement
A group of people with a common ideology who try to achieve common goals.
Social movements can also be described as organized groups of people
who may encourage or discourage social change.