chapter  Chapter 7
14 Pages

Markers of devaluation

Difference and indifference
WithChris Steed

This chapter proposes a new conceptual category; namely devaluation. A concept of “human devaluation” as an analytical lens through which to view internal and social worlds is a move that invokes the contrast pole of value-in-oneself. Locating the effect of experiences of devaluation – or the notion of human value – is problematic. Devaluation drives many social processes and underlies many social evils. Devaluation shapes the negotiation of social differences and provides the resonance between experiences of class, gender, race, ageism, colonialism, homophobia or prejudice due to disability. Borrowing the idea of enhancing conceptual clarity by means of polarisation, it is through noting and discussing experiences of devaluation that human value is most clearly seen as a driver in contemporary society. In feudal society, to be powerful was to announce one’s presence or publicly demonstrate the cost of deviance. The inner sense of self-worth is inseparable from the value society places on people.