dot, "the working sense of what it means when someone uses it" varies in my experience. i usually ask a person to clarify what they mean when they use a word that i don't.
so, i do know the dictionary definitions of exploitation, and in many cases i know how a particular individual uses it when i talk with them, but i don't have one of my own that i use in communicating my thoughts. in other words, i don't "define exploitation", but if it comes up from another person in conversation, i ask them to define their meaning of it.
i agree about the usefulness of considering another person's definition of a word absent from my vocabulary. i also like to consider why i don't use a particular word or phrase.
edited: to reduce redundancy
to me, exploitation implies an economic relationship and interactions over time and it's a term for large scale interactions, rather than individual-to-individual ones. someone i was talking to commented that it's a word for white men in top hats... which leads me to the thought that it describes a clear and simple power relationship, pre-foucauldian, which certainly exists (obviously), but is hardly the most common scenario in rape (which is why it bothered me in the original example, i guess).
it is not simply a word for mis-use of power, especially not a one-time abuse.
it has also been jargon, used to mystify power relations rather than clarify them.
"it has also been jargon, used to mystify power relations rather than clarify them."
i agree. i think this has something to do with why i don't use it.
ymmv? guess i need a new acronym cheat sheet.
"like how (for me) racism is a systemic thing, not a matter of (for example) a black person hating white people. "
i don't think i understand. clearly there is systemic racism in the u.s., and clearly it has typically been aimed at non-whites. but when a black person (an individual) hates "white people" (a falsely homogenized mass), are you saying that is not racism? and if so, would you say the same of a white person (an individual) hating "black people" (a falsely homogenized mass)?
yes, that's been clear.
many people use racism to mean anything race-based. and in theory i think that's understandable, but (to my thinking) it makes it harder to have conversations about the most significant ways that a system impacts us.
why do you think that it should be called the same thing when two people do the same thing but the context is really really really different?
but perhaps at this point this is for a different thread.http://anarchy101.org/4420/how-do-anarchists-define-racism?show=4420#q4420you never answered on that thread. perhaps it's time?
the fact that terms like "institutional racism", "systemic racism", etc, have added a specific and clarifying qualifier to the general term "racism" is significant to me, and makes much sense.
i can find no definition of the unqualified word "racism", outside of academia, that implies anything about it referring only to institutional or systemic policies/behaviors rooted in bigotry/hatred based on race. left/liberal academics seem to have redefined the term as such, in order to fit it into the overarching ideology of victimization and identity politics that seems to be their bread and butter.
but honestly, it just isn't very important to me. i now understand how you (dot) use the word, and that is all that really matters; clarity in communication, not right or wrong. (not saying you are playing the right/wrong game, btw).
i'll have to peek at that other thread...
Proudhon's What is Property? contains a very specific theory of exploitation, which has at least been influential among anarchists. People working together generally produce more than they would working individually, he says, but under conditions of capitalist exploitation they are compensated as if they had been working alone, while the capitalists pocket the share of the proceeds (and often the lion's share) attributable to the cooperation. Exploitation is then individual appropriation of social property or product, and we find analogous forms in political and economic spheres.