Beyond Token Change

Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in Institutions

Beyond Token Change book cover

Beyond Token Change is the sequel to Becoming an Ally. In it, the author examines the patterns of oppression found in organizations and institutions. Using a case study as her starting point, she considers the nature of institutions beyond the “sum of the parts,” that is, the individuals who participate in them. She defines the difference between token change and transformation of institutional structures at a deeper level. She explores twentieth-century physics for clues about how large, complex entities like institutions change. Finally. she looks at the implications for the tactics we employ to achieve equity in our institutions. In particular, she proposes a method of focusing attention on the institution and its dynamics that goes beyond putting individuals within the institution “on trial” for discrimination.

Bishop offers a clear analysis of the real situation of institutional oppression, to which many people can relate. She addresses the need for people to look beyond the oppression of individuals so we can take action to address the larger factors that are so often missed or ignored. Readers of this book will appreciate her contributions and efforts to positively change our societies.

Michael Anthony Hart, University of Manitoba Faculty of Social Worki


Bishop’s follow up to Becoming an Ally is a critical, yet thoughtful, reflection on what can happen to the people within large institutions, both those who experience exclusion and their allies. If you are wondering what drives institutional oppression and what often paralyzes the best efforts of the change agents within, Beyond Token Change proffers a compelling perspective on what lies under the institutional hood.

Maureen E. Shebib, LLB, LLM, Equity and Sexual Harassment Advisor, St. Francis Xavier University


Read the first chapter of Beyond Token Change


Beyond Token Change is available from any bookstore. Please support a local, independent bookstore if you can. It can also be ordered from the Fernwood/Roseway website: If you would like to purchase a signed or inscribed copy, go to my Etsy shop, Crone Books, at