Disempowerment has long been considered a central issue in the social sciences as well as in the area of intercultural training and management. In fact, empowerment concerns are the single most important factor in much modern social research. The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire has devoted much of his life to the advancement of the uneducated and impoverished people of his homeland. This has resulted in his writings which have expounded educational theories designed to empower each individual to act as his or her own agent of social empowerment and change.
Disempowerment takes many forms. Entire populations may be disempowered to some extent. This may take the form of systematic and structured disenfranchisement, such as that of women throughout much of the present world. In many parts of the globe, women are explicitly prohibited from the free exercise of function that is taken for granted in other regions and states. Further, the type of disempowerment practiced upon women is often institutionalized by governmental and religious structures with the effect of imposing inflexible strictures upon social action on the part of the oppressed.
DiCesare, Joey, "Disempowerment among Catholic Laity in Northern West Virginia" (1997). Capstone Collection. 1074.