Oppression exists when one social group, whether knowingly or unconsciously, exploits another social group for its own benefit. Social oppression is distinct from situation of simple brute force in that it is an interlocking system that involves ideological control as well as domination and control of the social institutions and resources of the society, resulting in a condition of privilege for the agent group relative to the disenfranchisement and exploitation of the target group.
(Rita Hardiman and Bailey W. Jackson, "Conceptual Foundations for Social Justice Courses")
It is perhaps (hopefully) a commonplace to define oppression as discrimination plus power, that is, a distinction or differentiation made between people which is backed up and exploited by a difference of power between the two parties. We emphasize the element of exploitation as it is precisely this 'turning to account' which gives an active sense to oppression, as distinct from it being a passive state. ...
In terms of moral philosophy and ethical and professional practice, 'non exploitation' may be viewed as a part of the practitioner's commitment to 'non maleficence' or doing no harm.
(Barbara Smith and Keith Tudor, "Oppression and Pedagogy: Anti-oppressive Practice in the Education of Therapists")
I'm going to come back to these two quotes in future posts, but I just wanted to start by posting them together.