Glossary

Glossary of Terms

Caste – Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, non-commensality and hereditary occupations. Caste discrimination affects an estimated 250 million people worldwide.

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Endogamy –  Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific ethnic group, class, or social group, rejecting others on such a basis as being unsuitable for marriage or for other close personal relationships.

Endogamy is common in many cultures and ethnic groups. Several ethnic religious groups are traditionally more endogamous, although sometimes with the added dimension of requiring marital religious conversion. This permits an exogamous marriage, as the convert, by accepting the partner’s religion, becomes accepted within the endogamous rules. Certain groups, such as Orthodox Jews, have practised endogamy as an inherent part of their religious beliefs and traditions. Endogamy can serve as a form of self-segregation; it helps a community to resist integrating and completely merging with surrounding populations. It helps minorities to survive over a long time as distinct communities within societies with other practices and beliefs. The isolationist practices of endogamy may lead to a group’s extinction rather than its survival, as genetic diseases may develop that can affect a larger percentage of the population. However, this disease effect would tend to be small unless there is a high degree of close inbreeding, or if the endogamous population becomes very small in size.

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Ethnic Nepotism – In sociology, the term ethnic nepotism describes a human tendency for in-group bias or in-group favouritism applied by nepotism for people with the same ethnicity within a multi-ethnic society.

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Chattering Classes – The chattering classes is a generally derogatory term first coined by Auberon Waugh often used by pundits and political commentators to refer to a politically active, socially concerned and ‘highly’ educated section of the “metropolitan middle class”, especially those with political, media, and academic connections. It is sometimes used to refer to the liberal elite.

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Proletariat– The proletariat is a term used to describe the class of wage-earners (especially industrial workers), in a capitalist society, whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power (their ability to work); a member of such a class is a proletarian.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the word as the lowest or one of the lowest economic and social classes in a society. In ancient Rome the proletariat consisted of the poor landless freemen. It included artisans and small tradesmen.

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Bourgeoisie – The bourgeoisie is a polysemous French term, because it means: originally and generally “those who live in the borough”, that is to say, the people of the city (including merchants and craftsmen), as opposed to those of rural areas. A sociologically defined class, especially in contemporary times, referring to people with a certain cultural and financial capital belonging to the middle or upper stratum of the middle class: the upper (haute), middle (moyenne) and petty (petite) bourgeoisie (which are designated “the Bourgeoisie”). An affluent and often opulent stratum of the middle class (capitalist class) who stand opposite the proletariat class.

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Blue collar – In English-speaking countries, a blue-collar worker is a working class person who performs manual labour. Blue-collar work is often paid hourly wage-labor, although some professionals may be paid by the project or salaried.

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White collar -A worker typically performing work in an office environment and may involve sitting at a computer or desk.

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Pink collar – A worker whose labour is related to customer interaction, entertainment, sales or other service-oriented work.

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Lumpenproletariat – A word literally meaning “miscreant” as well as “rag”.

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Peasantry – A peasant is a member of a traditional class of farmers, either laborers or owners of small farms, especially in the Middle Ages under feudalism, or more generally, in any pre-industrial society.

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Precariat – The precariat is a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare as well as being a member of a proletariat class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labour to live. Specifically, it is applied to the condition of lack of job security, in other words intermittent employment or underemployment and the resultant precarious existence.

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Prolefeed – is a Newspeak term in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It was used to describe the deliberately superficial literature, movies and music that were produced to keep the “proles” (i.e., proletariat) content and to prevent them from becoming too knowledgeable. The ruling Party believes that too much knowledge could motivate the proles to rebel against them. The term is used occasionally to describe shallow entertainment in the real world.

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Proletarianization –  proletarianization is the social process whereby people move from being either an employer, unemployed or self-employed, to being employed as wage labor by an employer.

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Proletarian internationalism – sometimes referred to as international socialism, is a socialist form of internationalism, based on the view that capitalism is a global system, and therefore the working class must act as a global class if it is to defeat it in class conflict. Workers thus should struggle in solidarity with their fellow workers in other countries on the basis of a common class interest, to avoid continued subjugation via divide and rule. Proletarian internationalism is closely linked to goals of world revolution, to be achieved through successive or simultaneous communist revolutions in all nations.

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Slavery – Slavery is a legal or economic system in which principles of property law can apply to humans so that people can be treated as property, and can be owned, bought and sold accordingly, and cannot withdraw unilaterally from the arrangement. While a person is a slave, the owner is entitled to the slave’s labour, without any remuneration. The rights and protection of the slave may be regulated by laws and customs in a particular time and place, and a person may become a slave from the time of their capture, purchase or birth. Such slavery is commonly referred to as chattel slavery or traditional slavery. It is the least prevalent form of slavery in the world today.

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Social Class – Social class (or simply “class”), as in a class society, is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle, and lower classes.

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Working class – The working class (also labouring class and proletariat) are the people employed for wages, especially in manual-labour occupations and in skilled, industrial work. Working-class occupations include blue-collar jobs, some white-collar jobs, and most service-work jobs. The working class rely upon their earnings from wage labour, thereby, the category includes most of the working population of industrialized economies, of the urban areas (cities, towns, villages) of non-industrialized economies, and of the rural workforce.

In Marxist theory and in socialist literature, the term working class usually is synonymous and interchangeable with the term proletariat, and includes all workers who expend either physical labour or mental labour (salaried knowledge workers and white-collar workers) to produce economic value for the owners of the means of production, the bourgeoisie.

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Wage slavery – Wage slavery refers to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate. It is a pejorative term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person.

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