Litvin (1997) concludes that the discourse of categorisation of people, that they belong to this group or that, is not the scientific endeavour it appears on the surface. Rather it is a distraction from the fact that the categories are mirages, phantasms that constantly shift reflecting the power play of everyday interactions:
“The particular differences individuals perceived among one another (as opposed to other, unperceived differences), together with the meanings of those perceived differences, are continually constructed through ongoing processes. There are no essential, innate and immutable characteristics of race, age, gender, disability or other demographic categories. Instead there are history, context, process, interactivity, power relations and change. (Litvin, 1997, pp. 206–7)”
The purpose of identifying difference and then categorising it into a discernible shape is to support the ‘legitimacy of dominating those who have been constructed as in some way inferior’ (Reynolds and Trehan, 2003, p. 174). The hidden aspect of concepts of diversity is that people are not only perceived as ‘different’; some of them are seen as lesser than others.

Jacky Lumby, Marianne Coleman, Leadership and Diversity: Challenging Theory and Practice in Education, 2007.

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