Book Bringing the Isms into Focus

Inequality is on the rise. We are currently witnessing unprecedented economic growth and concomitant political influence for a small minority alongside stagnation or loss for the majority (Piketty, 2014; Sayer, 2014). As the Oxfam International quote shown above indicates, this growing abysm corrosively impacts upon society (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009) in various ways including, increasing segregation, marginalization and exclusion of particular disenfranchised groups. What is often overlooked in the field of language education is that different forms of oppression and disadvantage can interrelate in varying configurations within individuals and localized contexts as in the case of Charles Dickens’ character Stephen. Sociological research addressing this intersectionality has demonstrated how the interplay of facets such as race, class, and gender can result in multiple dimensions and intensities of prejudice and discrimination (Crenshaw, 1991).

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