Spine Film

glossary

The meaning of some words used in some Spine Film notes or film reviews.

ascriptive inequality
Ascription occurs when social or occupational position is mainly inherited. That is, people's lives are determined by attributes they have from birth. Race, gender, religion, ethnicity, social background, or residence are examples. It only works to advantage for those in a position to pass benefit to their offspring. When position could more productively be based on natural aptitude, intelligence, or achievement, ascriptive inequality creates disadvantage for the individual and the society. Decisions about the use of finite resources are made by the wrong people, on the basis of what is good for themselves immediately, rather than in the long-term interests of the majority.
entropy
The amount of energy in a system that is no longer available to perform mechanical action. It in part accounts for the impossibility of perpetual motion. In other words, all systems suffer from the loss of energy, and it is not possible to get that energy back.
eugenics
The application of science to breeding in order to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics in a population. This is a discredited branch of genetic science with some very negative connotations and associations.
identification with oppressors
If the oppressed are systematically devalued, the oppressor becomes a norm for behaviour, and the oppressed will in turn devalue characteristics that make them part of the oppressed group. Leaders who emerge from within that group are mistrusted, and unrealistic expectations lead to abandonment of any vision of liberation.
limbic system
functionally related neural structures in the brain that are involved in emotional behaviour, also called the visceral brain, believed to generate primitive impulses
nepotism
The corrupt practice whereby those in advantageous positions show favour to their relatives, especially by giving them salaried positions, emoluments, or promotions, irrespective of merit, accomplishments, or credentials.
noblesse oblige
Put simply, it means that people assume the privileged have a responsibility to be helpful, and generous, to the less fortunate.
outward compliance
Creating the appearance of adherence to, or belief in, a culture, hierarchy, or social system while maintaining beliefs or performing covert actions that are inconsistent with that appearance. Put simply, saying one thing but doing or believing another.
phenomenology
The philosophical study of phenomena, or of things as they are perceived, rather than the study of their objective reality; it is concerned with the experience of a thing as opposed to a thing itself.
precambrian
Relating to the earliest aeon of the earth's natural history, ending over 500 million years ago (a time when living organisms first appear).
quixotic
Meaning unrealistic, from Don Quiote, a 17th Century romance by Cervantes. It is a satirical account of the chivalric beliefs and conduct of the eponymous hero, who has a romantic vision and idealism, but also misdirects his attack.
social proof
The demonstration factor that prevents people from acting independently in a crowd or other social situation, or when there is an established social norm. Examples can be found in advertising (millions of customers say...) or false demonstrations in favor of a despot that are motivated by coercion or bribery ("rent a mob").
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