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Powerarchy

Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation
Narrated by: Anna Crowe
Length: 5 hrs and 11 mins
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

Harvard-educated psychologist and best-selling author Melanie Joy exposes the psychology that underlies all forms of oppression and abuse and the belief system that gives rise to this psychology - which she calls powerarchy. 

Melanie Joy had long been curious as to why people who were opposed to one or more forms of oppression - such as racism, sexism, speciesism, and so forth - often stayed mired in many others. She also wondered why people who were working toward social justice sometimes engaged in interpersonal dynamics that were unjust. Or why people who valued freedom and democracy might nevertheless vote and act against these values. Where was the disconnect? 

In this thought-provoking analysis, Joy explains how we’ve all been deeply conditioned by the invisible system of powerarchy to believe in a hierarchy of moral worth - to view some individuals and groups as either more or less worthy of moral consideration - and to treat them accordingly.   

Powerarchy conditions us to engage in power dynamics that violate integrity and harm dignity, and it creates unjust power imbalances among social groups and between individuals. Joy describes how powerarchies - both social and interpersonal - perpetuate themselves through cognitive distortions, such as denial and justification; narratives that reinforce the belief in a hierarchy of moral worth; and privileges that are granted to some and not others. She also provides tools for transformation. 

By illuminating powerarchy and the psychology it creates, Joy helps us to work more fully toward transformation for ourselves, others, and our world.

©2019 Melanie Joy (P)2019 Melanie Joy

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Extremely Valuable

The level of wisdom that Melanie has is phenomenal. Even if I only learned 5% of her knowledge would be amazing.

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  • Kobi
  • 18-12-19

Great book

There is lots of wisdom in this book. Narrator was a bit quick for me in some parts so I had to go back and re-listen but both book and narration was engaging. Book has woke me up to the many ways I play roles in power systems without awareness and way I can transform myself and these power systems. Thank you 🙏

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-09-19

Good , A bit idealistic

Well Put Talking Points. Still Some concern on implementation on a mass scale as I see some negatives with identity Politics. Good overall strategy though.

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  • M. Gold
  • 03-09-19

Necessary for our collective evolution ...

Melanie Joy amazingly coins terms that help ordinary people understand systems of domination and how they function in our lives and our relationships. In this book, the simple idea that we live in a world where here is a hierarchy of moral worth being played out in every relationship, is explained in ways that help us recognize it in our own lives. The ideas of systemic oppression, and dominance can be daunting for many of us to comprehend, and are often ignored, even by activists due to their complexity. Often people see "privilege" as something that is a personal failing, and something to be ashamed of. In this book Melanie explains exactly how these elements of our domination systems function in relational space, and how we can address them by becoming aware of their presence. A much needed primer for our times if we are to evolve towards love, compassion, and understanding of the inherent worth of all who live on this planet together. The topics discussed here are essential to our collective survival, and the ways they are demystified in this book helps the reader comprehend them in personally relevant ways. Thank you for making relational dynamics so clear, and helping us become more self/other aware.

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  • Greg Brierly
  • 26-08-19

Excellent deconstruction of bigger issues globally

I thought this was an excellent breakdown of the power systems that cause problems in the world.
The audiobook was excellent, however, sometimes because of the concepts in the book, you had to pause and restart certain sections.
Overall, well worth the read (or listen)

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  • Ed Startup
  • 25-08-19

Such an important book for our times

This book is essential reading for anyone who is interested in understanding the psychology that underpins all forms of oppression and how we can transform these oppressive systems by, on the one hand, shining a light on their defensive mechanisms and, on the other using a relational model to promote alternatives. This is a book about how oppression and unhealthy power dynamics sustain themselves and how we can move beyond them to create systems founded on the core moral values of integrity, justice and compassion. Joy’s work is meticulously researched and written in a way that is both engaging and compelling. If you are interested in social justice and contributing toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world then this is a must read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-08-19

It changed my life & is going to change the world!

This book is a must read for whoever wants to understand systems of oppression and work towards creating a more just and compassionate world. Melanie Joy analyzes and deconstructs the psychology behind how all systems of oppression work and are related to one another.
Melanie Joy is an incredible writer, she deconstructs really complex topics in language that is easy to understand and provides practical solutions to bring about change in the world. I am convinced that this book is going to change lives and the world in very positive ways!