Sociology Intersectionalities
by
Judith A. Howard
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0111

Introduction

Individuals are shaped by the multiple categories to which they are perceived to belong and the social structures that undergird systems of categorization. Systems of social categorization are virtually always associated with differential, unequal resources. Intersectionality is a concept fundamental to understanding these societal inequalities; the key assertion of intersectionality is that the various systems of societal oppression do not act independently of each other. Different systems of inequality are transformed in their intersections, the fundamental principle of intersectionality. The phrase “race, class, and gender,” still in use, is a precursor of the concept of intersectionality. The preferred use of the latter term reflects in part the awareness that there are more than three intersecting systems of societal inequalities. The metaphors noted in the section Metaphors of Intersectionality below have been powerful visualizations of this complexity. Further, some identities may be privileged categories, others marginalized. Thus oppression and privilege may be experienced simultaneously, complicating the analysis of inequality. These issues are addressed in the section Critiques of Intersectionality below. Intersectionality crosses levels of analysis, from the micro-level experiences of individual actors to the macro-level structural, organizational, and institutional contexts in which human interactions and experiences are formed. Intersectionality is an analytic approach, a way of thinking about social categories that articulates similarity and difference, always inflected by relations of power. Research adopting an intersectional lens falls into several not entirely distinct groups: theoretical and methodological debates, evident in the sections Organizational Frameworks of Intersectionality and Methodologies, and applications of intersectional dynamics and political interventions, evident in the sections Intersectional Praxis and Transnational Intersectionalities. Intersectionality is also a deeply interdisciplinary concept, an analytic approach that can be found in almost all of the social sciences as well as the humanities; examples here are drawn from political science and psychology, in addition to the sociological examples appropriate to this series.

Textbooks

Most textbooks on societal inequalities focus on one system of inequality, typically gender, as primary; Anderson 2011 and Lee and Shaw 2011 are examples. Some, such as Landry 2007, incorporate analyses of intersections between gender and one or two additional systems, typically race and socioeconomic status (class). Relatively few textbooks adopt a fully intersectional approach, but the few that do, such as Newman 2012 and Ore 2010, are of high quality. Johnson 2006 offers an unusual analysis of inequality through the lens of privilege, as opposed to marginalization. Due to the paucity of texts in this area, many instructors use anthologies of essays on this theme.

  • Anderson, Margaret L. 2011. Thinking about women: Sociological perspectives on sex and gender. 9th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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    This text is suitable for introductory courses in gender studies. Written from a sociological perspective, it addresses the social construction of gender and gender dynamics in a number of key institutions such as education, the labor force, religion, crime, and politics. The approach is not highly intersectional.

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    • Johnson, Allan G. 2006. Privilege, power, and difference. 2d ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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      This text is distinct in focusing on privilege rather than oppression. Emphasizing class-based privilege, Johnson addresses how systems of privilege work, particularly how individualism enables lack of recognition and denial of privilege. This second edition includes analysis of issues of disabilities in addition to the analyses of race, gender, and class offered in the first edition.

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      • Landry, Bart. 2007. Race, gender, and class: Theory and methods of analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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        This text is a combination of textbook and anthology, the only such collection that organizes selections by methodology. Landry includes a short overview preceding each set of papers. After a preliminary theoretical overview, the two major sections address a number of aspects of qualitative and quantitative intersectional approaches. An excellent collection suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

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        • Lee, Janet, and Susan M. Shaw. 2011. Women worldwide: Transnational feminist perspectives on women. New York: McGraw Hill.

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          Suitable for introductory gender studies or international studies courses. Focuses primarily on gender, but is distinguished by its grounding in a transnational context. Sections focus on media, politics of the body, health, reproductive freedom, global economies, environmental politics, conflict, and cooperation. Not explicitly intersectional, but in the many examples there is considerable attention to intersections among gender and sexuality, nationality, and social class.

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          • Newman, David M. 2012. Identities & inequalities: Exploring the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. 2d ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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            An excellent text focused explicitly on intersectional analyses of societal inequalities; suitable for both introductory and upper-level undergraduates. Organized in two sections: one addresses the social construction of systems of identities, the second the consequences of identities as expressed in systems of social inequalities.

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            • Ore, Tracy E. 2010. The social construction of difference and inequality: Race, class, gender, and sexuality. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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              This text, currently in its fifth edition, focuses on the processes that generate, maintain, and sometimes change societal inequalities. Ore offers a fully intersectional approach to inequalities associated with race, class, gender, and sexuality. Appropriate for all levels of undergraduate classes, although perhaps better suited to upper-level and graduate courses.

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              Anthologies

              A number of high-quality anthologies adopt an intersectional approach to societal inequalities. Many of these are useful both for classroom instruction and for scholarly purposes. Some of the works cited here, such as Baca Zinn, et al. 2000 or Gagné and Tewksbury 2003, are early collections that have had considerable influence on the development of this field; others are more recent reflections on this development, and look toward possible futures. Rosenblum and Travis 2012 offers fuller coverage of disabilities, Kivisto and Hartung 2007 emphasizes social class, and Grewal and Kaplan 2006 emphasizes transnational lenses on inequalities. Rothenberg and Mayhew 2014 offers useful discussions of privilege. Some, e.g., Berger and Guidroz 2009 and Fenstermaker and West 2002, are more scholarly; others, such as Dill and Zambrana 2009, emphasize praxis and social change. See also Andersen and Collins 2013.

              • Andersen, Margaret L., and Patricia Hill Collins, eds. 2013. Race, class, & gender: An anthology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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                Arguably the most venerable of the anthologies on intersectionality, this collection includes sections on each key system of societal inequalities as well as key institutions in which inequalities are expressed. The opening essay demonstrates that the power of systems of race, class, and gender is very much alive and well in the 21st century. Stronger focus on economic issues and class inequalities, as well as sexual issues and inequalities, than previous editions.

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                • Baca Zinn, Maxine, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, and Michael A. Messner, eds. 2000. Gender through the prism of difference. 2d ed. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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                  This anthology organizes inequalities along a dimension ranging from individual-level bodies and identities through to structural systems such as families and workplaces. Essays offer a more global perspective than many parallel works. This second edition includes more discussion of generational differences as well as more material on popular culture.

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                  • Berger, Michele Tracy, and Kathleen Guidroz, eds. 2009. The intersectional approach: Transforming the academy through race, class, & gender. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                    This signature collection of substantive essays on intersectionality includes articles by many of the key scholars in this field, engaging in critical reflection about the broad adoption of this intersectional approach in the field of gender studies. The volume includes both theoretical and methodological advances, as well as a deeply interdisciplinary approach.

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                    • Dill, Bonnie Thornton, and Ruth Enid Zambrana, eds. 2009. Emerging intersections: Race, class, and gender in theory, policy, and practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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                      This collection focuses attention on social structural analyses of inequality and synthesizes some of the best practices in this field, powerfully emphasizing the enduring importance of directing intersectional analyses to foster social justice. The editors ask how these analyses can be directed toward deep, persistent social change,

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                      • Fenstermaker, Sarah, and Candace West, eds. 2002. Doing gender, doing difference: Inequality, power, and institutional change. New York: Routledge.

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                        This collection brings together articles written over two decades, first proposing and later complicating the core notion of “doing gender,” that is, how gender is performed. The authors later consider multiple systems of inequality, not often intersectionally. Traces the history of “doing” inequality and the authors’ own intellectual engagements with intersectionality.

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                        • Gagné, Patricia, and Richard Tewksbury, eds. 2003. The dynamics of inequality: Race, class, gender, and sexuality in the United States. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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                          This collection is organized by the variety of barriers to social equality: economic, educational, and cultural. Contributions are written by academics and public intellectuals. Analyses are not particularly intersectional. This could be used as a textbook suitable for upper-level undergraduates.

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                          • Grewal, Inderpal, and Caren Kaplan. 2006. An introduction to women’s studies: Gender in a transnational world. 2d ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

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                            An explicitly feminist and explicitly transnational approach to understanding gender in its intersections with a number of other systems of societal inequalities. The authors are two of the most prominent scholars of transnational genders and sexualities; many of the selections are true classics. Suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.

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                            • Kivisto, Peter, and Elizabeth Hartung, eds. 2007. Intersecting inequalities: Class, race, sex, and sexualities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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                              Focuses primarily on social class, beginning with essays by key scholars in the field, followed by chapters that address intersections of social class with race and ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, and citizenship/globalization. Selections are from a range of prominent sociologists, as well as public intellectuals. Suitable both for classroom (advanced undergraduate or graduate students) and research purposes.

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                              • Rosenblum, Karen E., and Toni-Michelle C. Travis. 2012. The meaning of difference: American constructions of race, sex and gender, social class, sexual orientation, and disability. 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

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                                This collection, a combination of essays by the authors and accompanying readings, focuses explicitly on categories of difference and inequality. Chapters are organized by single systems, but discussions adopt an intersectional framework. Distinct features are extended, thoughtful essays by the editors introducing each system of difference/inequality, as well as substantial material on disabilities. Suitable for undergraduates in both introductory and more advanced classes.

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                                • Rothenberg, Paula S., with Kelly S. Mayhew. 2014. Race, class, and gender in the United States. 9th ed. New York: Worth.

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                                  This collection is organized in terms of the key systems of societal inequalities, with some intersectional applications and examples. Suitable for upper-level undergraduates and perhaps also for introductory graduate seminars. Useful sections on the dynamics of privilege and complexities of racial and ethnic configurations, as well as both maintenance and change of societal hierarchies.

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                                  Journals

                                  Research adopting an intersectional approach appears in a wide range of journals, reflecting the deeply interdisciplinary character of this concept. Several journals, however, publish not only examples of intersectional analyses, but also essays that address intersectionality itself. Some of these journals, such as Gender & Society, Race, Gender & Class, and Frontiers, are closely associated with specific disciplines (in these cases, sociology and history). Others, such as Signs, Feminist Studies, or Sexualities, are fully interdisciplinary. The latter two include not only scholarly essays but also creative writing, reviews, and social commentaries. Most of these, e.g., Hypatia and differences, tend toward publishing theoretical or qualitative work, but quantitative approaches exist as well.

                                  • differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. 1989–.

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                                    Originally the journal focused on distinctions between primarily American politics of diversity and primarily continental European theories of difference. differences is now a highly interdisciplinary journal that addresses how categories of difference work within cultures, with foci ranging from literary to visual to political texts.

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                                    • Feminist Studies. 1972–.

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                                      Feminist Studies is one of the oldest journals of feminist scholarship and is explicitly interdisciplinary. In addition to research and criticism, it publishes creative writing, art, book reviews, and social commentaries. Following scholarly trends in feminist work, this journal has become more intersectional in recent decades.

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                                      • Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. 1975–.

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                                        One of the oldest feminist journals in the United States, Frontiers has until recently emphasized historical analyses of women in the US West. As intersectionality began to transform feminist scholarship, so too did Frontiers expand its range to include much intersectional work. With a move in 2012 to the US Midwest, its scholarly range expanded to a broader conception of regionality.

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                                        • Gender & Society. 1987–.

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                                          Gender & Society is a journal of feminist social science research, published by Sociologists for Women in Society. Publishes primarily empirical pieces as well as book reviews; explicitly encourages submission of intersectional research. Although it aspires to be interdisciplinary, the articles are disproportionately written by sociologists. Many of the signature essays on intersectionality have been published in Gender & Society.

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                                          • Hypatia. 1985–.

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                                            Hypatia is a journal of feminist philosophy, published since 1985. The journal has published a number of special issues on topics relevant to intersectionality, including embodiment, border crossing, disability studies, and philosophy of science.

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                                            • Race, Gender & Class. 1993–.

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                                              Published since 1993, this journal publishes interdisciplinary scholarship that focuses on the ideal of social equality between and within racial, ethnic, gender, and social class groups. Promotes collaboration among scholars, students, and practitioners in a wide variety of fields. Focuses on current issues such as poverty, war, elections, health concerns, and environmental foci. Written for an educated lay audience.

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                                              • Sexualities. 1998–.

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                                                Sexualities explores human sexualities in a broadly interdisciplinary framework, both theorizing and critiquing the social organization of human sexual experiences. Essays emphasize how sexuality is stratified by race, class, gender, age, and intersections among these systems. The journal includes not only scholarly essays, but also book and film reviews, interviews, state of the field reviews, and annotated bibliographies.

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                                                • Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 1975–.

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                                                  Signs is one of the oldest and most significant of the journals of feminist scholarship. Highly interdisciplinary, publishing scholarship from a wide array of fields, illuminating dimensions of social, cultural, political, economic, national, and transnational social relations. Particularly notable is the Summer 2013 special issue, Intersectionality: Theorizing power, empowering theory.

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                                                  Definitions

                                                  Social categorization lies at the heart of intersectionality. Categorization is a key mechanism for organizing information, and therefore a key principle of human social cognition. Categorization is almost always accompanied by different evaluation; these values guide the differential allocation of both material and symbolic resources. Sociopolitical awareness of social categories, the societal inequalities associated with them, and eventually of the intersections among them became prominent in the 1960s and 1970s, associated with social movements organized in terms of social categories and identities. Virtually every discussion of intersectionality begins by tracing the history of this concept, signaling several watershed contributions. The most influential early pieces, e.g., Crenshaw 1989, Crenshaw 1991, Collins 2000, and King 1988, are cited here; for the most part, the distinctions among the definitions they offer for intersectionality are complementary, not contradictory. Weber 2004 offers a useful multidimensional definition; MacKinnon 2013 approaches intersectionality through legal methodology, West and Fenstermaker 1995 through interactional method.

                                                  • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

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                                                    Collins conceives of intersectionality as micro-level, expressed in perceptions, cultural images, and worldviews. Emphasizes how Black feminist thought is generated and communicated; the focus is on how people, especially Black women, actually live at these intersections. Theorizes that micro-level dynamics are paralleled by macro-level structures; together these multilevel systems create a “matrix of domination.”

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                                                    • Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory, and antiracist policies. University of Chicago Legal Forum: 139–167.

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                                                      Crenshaw was the first to explicitly name the concept of intersectionality. Offers a trenchant critique of the then prevailing political, especially feminist, discourses. Analyzes a number of legal cases in which Black women were unsuccessful in asserting discrimination that compounded their being Black and their being female. An early and profoundly structural critique of unidimensional accounts of inequality.

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                                                      • Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1991. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity policies, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review 43:1241–1299.

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                                                        Writing from a legal perspective about rape and sexual violence, Crenshaw identifies three forms of intersectionality: structural intersectionality, political intersectionality, and representational intersectionality. In the 1980s and 1990s, a new critical mass of legal scholars of color formed the field of critical legal studies, known for reliance on intense societal critique, offering analyses that made visible the unidimensional frameworks then common among progressive scholars.

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                                                        • King, Deborah. 1988. Multiple jeopardy; multiple consciousness: The context of a black feminist ideology. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 14:42–72.

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                                                          King emphasizes the multiplicative, rather than additive, nature of oppressions. Individuals who live in more than one marginalized social location experience multiple jeopardy, a simultaneous multiplication of oppression. Challenges the notion that each discrimination has an independent effect on social position. For King, intersectionality precludes the identification of distinct, additive effects of discrimination; it is necessarily multiplicative.

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                                                          • MacKinnon, Catharine A. 2013. Intersectionality as method: A note. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 38:1019–1030.

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                                                            MacKinnon, an eminent legal scholar and theorist, illustrates intersectionality as a method of legal analysis, with examples ranging from the original legal case that generated this concept, Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986) (No. 84–1979), to her contemporary work in prosecuting war crimes against the Bosnian community.

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                                                            • Weber, Lynn. 2004. A conceptual framework for understanding race, class, gender, and sexuality. In Feminist perspectives on social research. Edited by Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Michelle Yaisier, 121–139. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                              Weber identifies six themes that characterize intersectionality: it is contextual, socially constructed, reflective of power relationships, both social structural and social psychological, simultaneously expressed, and interdependently links knowledge and activism.

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                                                              • West, Candace, and Sarah Fenstermaker, eds. 1995. Doing difference. Gender & Society 9:8–37.

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                                                                West and Fenstermaker extend West’s earlier concept of “doing gender” to “doing difference”—doing race, class, and gender. They propose that “difference” is an ongoing interactional accomplishment, and that while gender, race, and class are vastly different characteristics and outcomes, they are comparable as mechanisms for producing societal inequalities. Critical response was intense; see Critiques of Intersectionality.

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                                                                Metaphors of Intersectionality

                                                                Intersectionality is unusual in the field of social scientific concepts in that a number of key metaphors have been used in attempts to convey its meaning. These range from borderlands (Anzaldúa 1987, Lugones 1992) and matrices of domination (Collins 2000, Frye 1983), to crossroads (Crenshaw 1989, Garry 2011). Ken 2010 even proposes digestive metaphors. The use of metaphors reflects the difficulty of conceptualizing intersections among a wide array of significant social categories in ways that adequately address the complexity of human experience.

                                                                • Anzaldúa, Gloria. 1987. Borderlands/La Frontera: The new mestiza. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Book.

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                                                                  Anzaldúa introduced the critical concept of mestizaje, a state of being rooted in experiences located in between conflicting identities. She asserts that in challenging dualistic thinking, this consciousness offers greater tolerance for contradiction and ambiguity, and ultimately greater creative powers.

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                                                                  • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                    Collins conceives of intersectionality as micro-level, paralleled by interlocking processes among macro-level structures. Together, they create a “matrix of domination.” Collins sees the dimensions of this matrix as interlocking, such that patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism literally secure one another.

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                                                                    • Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory, and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 139–167.

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                                                                      Crenshaw envisions intersectionality as a metaphorical crossroad: each system of oppression is a vehicle traveling down roads that converge. If vehicles traveling on these roads were to simultaneously strike something, the consequences could not be clearly attributed to any single car, but rather to their joint impact. If no driver is held responsible, the systems of oppression continue unchanged. This inextricability of distinct contributions is the essence of intersectionality.

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                                                                      • Frye, Marilyn. 1983. The politics of reality. Freedom, CA: Crossing.

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                                                                        Frye envisions the matrix of domination as a birdcage in which each system of oppression is a single wire. It may be possible to circumvent any given wire. Woven together, however, interlocking wires of multiple systems create a cage: “the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon.”

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                                                                        • Garry, Ann. 2011. Intersectionality, metaphors, and the multiplicity of gender. Hypatia 26:826–850.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01194.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Extending Crenshaw’s metaphor of the crossroads, Garry proposes a more complex crossroad, that is, a roundabout. She notes that travelers must choose one pathway over others at this sort of intersection. This metaphor acknowledges the emergent configurations and experiences produced by multiple, crosscutting systems.

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                                                                          • Ken, Ivy. 2010. Digesting race, class, and gender: Sugar as metaphor. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                            Ken shows how processes such as producing, mixing, and digesting foods can lead to different social outcomes, depending on the “culinary” inputs. She compares intersectional processes to these stages of the sugar food system, from the growing of sugar cane to its sale, use, and ingestion, stressing how processes of racialization and globalization affect each stage. Emphasis on the temporality and processual aspects of intersectionality is a distinct contribution.

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                                                                            • Lugones, María. 1992. On Borderlands/La Frontera. Hypatia 7:31–37.

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                                                                              Lugones draws on the cartographic imagery in Anzaldúa 1987 to describe intersections in geopolitical terms as borderlands. Focusing on intersections among group-level identity categories, Lugones assert that some individuals occupy the liminal space between categories. Border-dwellers may be multiply marginalized.

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                                                                              Organizational Frameworks of Intersectionality

                                                                              Most scholars of intersectionality endorse several key tenets: the perspectives of individual actors are shaped by the multiple categories to which they belong; systems of inequality are transformed in their intersections; these transformations merge micro (experiential) (Ridgeway and Kricheli-Katz 2013) and macro (structural, institutional) (Browne and Misra 2003) levels of analysis; oppression and privilege can be experienced simultaneously with certain configurations of intersectionality. Beyond these common tenets, however, there are key variations in how scholars organize intersectionalities. Choo and Ferree 2010 emphasizes levels of analysis; Cho, et al. 2013 focuses on the generative character of intersectionality through scholarship, pedagogy, and political interventions; McCall 2005 focuses on the epistemological status of categories themselves.

                                                                              • Browne, Irene, and Joya Misra. 2003. The intersection of gender and race in the labor market. Annual Review of Sociology 29:487–513.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                An excellent review of intersectionality, with emphasis on intersections between race and gender in the US labor market. Beyond empirical findings of such intersections in certain labor market conditions, Browne and Misra offer important recommendations for scholars of intersectionality: develop middle-range theories; include multiple racial groups; move beyond race and gender to include other systems of inequality; include analyses of privilege; stipulate mechanisms of intersectionality.

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                                                                                • Cho, Sumi, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and Leslie McCall. 2013. Toward a field of intersectionality studies: Theory, applications, and praxis. In Special issue: Intersectionality: Theorizing power, empowering theory. Edited by Sumi Cho, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and Leslie McCall. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 38:785–810.

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                                                                                  This special issue introduction offers a sweeping and incisive overview of the contemporary state of scholarship on intersectionality, emphasizing applications of an intersectional framework through research and teaching projects, discursive debates about the scope and content of intersectionality, and political interventions. Highlights the generative focus of intersectionality as a “nodal point,” a gathering place for open-ended explorations of the conflicting dynamics of multiple systems of inequality.

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                                                                                  • Choo, Hae Yeon, and Myra Marx Ferree. 2010. Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: A critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociological Theory 28:129–149.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2010.01370.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    The authors organize intersectionalities by levels of analysis. One prong includes the micro-level experiences of multiply marginalized people and groups. A second focuses on intersectionality as an analytic interaction, a transformative interactivity of effects. A third addresses macro-level institutional primacy, critiquing those approaches that associate certain societal institutions primarily with one type of inequality or another, e.g., family with gender, then applying intersectional analysis to explain the “secondary” contradictions for nondominant groups.

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                                                                                    • McCall, Leslie. 2005. The complexity of intersectionality. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 30:1771–1800.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/426800Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      McCall identifies a continuum of three approaches. Anticategorical complexity challenges the use of categories, maintaining they have no basis in reality but only in language. Intracategorical complexity accounts for lived experience at neglected points of intersection, such as Black women. The intercategorical approach, multigroup and comparative, focuses on inequalities among already constituted social groups. McCall has conducted quantitative intercategorical analyses and attests to the methodological complexity of such research.

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                                                                                      • Ridgeway, Cecilia L., and Tamar Kricheli-Katz. 2013. Intersecting cultural beliefs in social relations. Gender & Society 27:294–318.

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                                                                                        Ridgeway and Kricheli-Katz highlight the relational enactment of intersecting identities across systems of gender and race. They emphasize potential overlaps of stereotypes such that those who are “off diagonal,” not represented by prototypical images embedded in stereotypes, may experience certain binds and even unexpected freedoms. They speculate that through the creation of such unpredicted freedoms, stereotypical beliefs might be transformed.

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                                                                                        Methodologies

                                                                                        The choice of research methods has considerable impact on what aspects of intersectionality can or cannot be revealed. Intersectionality is fluid, constituting mutual construction, not just coexistence, of multiple identities and inequalities. Qualitative methods are assumed to be truer to the fluidity of intersectionality, but quantitative methods can be powerful tools (Harnois 2009, McCall 2001). Bowleg 2008 suggests that it is in interpretation of data, whether qualitative or quantitative, that intersectional analyses are most powerful. Intersectional analyses must go beyond treating race, class, gender, sexuality, and so forth as separate categories, but at the same time recognize the particular material and historical specificities of each dimension, as well as the multiple levels of analysis, e.g., Perry 2009, Winkler and Degele 2011. Analyses must also able to incorporate and identify dynamics of both oppression and privilege. Perhaps the greatest methodological challenge is that in some sense an understanding of intersectionality is always provisional, given its grounding in social dynamics and histories that are themselves always shifting, e.g., Luft and Ward 2009, and the ultimate ambiguity of socially constructed categories, e.g., Yuval-Davis 2006. This can be profoundly discomfiting for social scientists. The citations in this section are the most useful guides for designing and implementing methods that do justice to intersectionality.

                                                                                        • Bowleg, Lisa. 2008. When black + lesbian + women ≠ black lesbian woman: The methodological challenges of qualitative and quantitative intersectional research. Sex Roles 59:312–325.

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                                                                                          Draws on ongoing research on black lesbians to demonstrate methodological challenges to measuring identities as intersectional, rather than additive, and analyzing data as intersectional. Observes that additive assumptions underlie both quantitative and qualitative strategies. Concludes that it is in the interpretation of data and analyses that intersectional tools can most effectively be applied.

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                                                                                          • Harnois, Catherine E. 2009. Imagining a “feminist revolution”: Can multiracial feminism revolutionize quantitative social science research? In The intersectional approach: Transforming the academy through race, class, and gender. Edited by Michelle Tracy Berger and Kathleen Guidroz, 157–172. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                                                                                            Demonstrates that the common claim that intersectional research cannot be fully accomplished with quantitative research is misguided, offering an intersectional analysis of the race/class/gender lens using the results of a national telephone survey. Shows that women’s commitment to feminism is shaped by racial, ethnic, and class differences.

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                                                                                            • Luft, Rachel E., and Jane Ward. 2009. Toward an intersectionality just out of reach. Advances in Gender Research 13:9–37.

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                                                                                              An insightful analysis of dangers in the very popularity of the concept of intersectionality. Among these: the tendency to emphasize some categories over others; the need to model intersectionality as fluid, entailing mutual constructions and not coexistence of oppressions; the importance of simultaneous analyses of oppression and privilege; a model of intersectionality as provisional; and the fact that intersectionality has become vulnerable to appropriation, being used to forward ends that are not about understanding inequalities.

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                                                                                              • McCall, Leslie. 2001. Sources of racial wage inequality in metropolitan labor markets: Racial, ethnic, and gender differences. American Sociological Review 66.4:520–541.

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                                                                                                Empirical quantitative illustration of the intercategorical approach (see Organizational Frameworks of Intersectionality). Multigroup studies must analyze the intersections of the full set of dimensions of multiple categories. McCall addresses growing earnings inequality between rich and poor, college-educated and non-college-educated, in various US regions. Complex and informative results that demonstrate that no single dimension of inequality can adequately describe the structure of multiple, intersecting, conflicting dimensions of inequality.

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                                                                                                • Perry, Gary K. 2009. Exploring occupational stereotyping in the new economy: The intersectional tradition meets mixed methods research. In The intersectional approach: Transforming the academy through race, class, and gender. Edited by Michelle Tracy Berger and Kathleen Guidroz, 229–244. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                                                                                                  Research on social stratification, despite its focus on patterns of inequality, has done little with intersectional analyses. Perry demonstrates the compatibility of intersectional and mixed methods research in his analysis of occupational sex stereotyping, arguing for the importance of bringing together quantitative and qualitative, micro-level and macro-level methods and approaches to identify intersectional dynamics in patterns of social stratification.

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                                                                                                  • Winkler, Gabriele, and Nina Degele. 2011. Intersectionality as multi-level analysis: Dealing with social inequality. European Journal of Women’s Studies 18:51–66.

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                                                                                                    Articulation of how to implement intersectional multi-level analyses to incorporate reciprocal effects among multiple levels: micro, meso, and macro. This eight-step model: describe identity constructions, identify symbolic representations, find references to social structures, denominate interrelations of central categories, compare and cluster subject constructions, supplement structural data and analyze power relations, deepen analysis of denominated representations, and elaborate interrelations in the overall demonstration.

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                                                                                                    • Yuval-Davis, Nira. 2006. Intersectionality and feminist politics. European Journal of Women’s Studies 13:193–209.

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                                                                                                      Yuval-Davis offers methodological guidelines for research on intersectionality as well as cautions about their potential unintended negative effects. One important example: the devastating effects the introduction of mutually exclusive categories can have on societies in which coexistence of communities requires categorical ambiguity. She points to the importance of acknowledging differential positionings of individuals through “transversal politics” without treating them as representatives of any fixed social groups.

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                                                                                                      Critiques of Intersectionality

                                                                                                      As intersectionality has become increasingly central to feminist debates, a number of points of critique have been raised. Has its very success led to a hollowing out of the meaning of the concept (Davis 2008, Knapp 2005) or even become a means to control the disruptive effects of difference (Puar 2011)? What is the relative balance between emphasis on mutual constitution of identities/positions (if even possible, Brown 1997), on the one hand, and on specific positional histories, on the other (Nash 2008, Yuval-Davis 2006)? What is the relative balance between fixed positions and emphasis on structures as opposed to a dynamic and provisional orientation (Collins, et al. 2005)? How useful are the various metaphors circulating about this concept? What are the appropriate methodologies—does intersectional research require a qualitative approach, or can quantitative methods adequately address intersectional questions (Shields 2008)?

                                                                                                      • Brown, Wendy. 1997. The impossibility of women’s studies. differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 9:79–101.

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                                                                                                        Sees the concept of intersectionality as fundamentally flawed. For Brown, ostensible dimensions of subjectivity do not operate discretely and are not separable. (Brown seems to see intersectionality as additive, despite the fact that its definition elides additivity.) Brown argues that subjects are brought into being through subjectifying discourse; the concept of intersectionality is not adequate to capture this. This highly controversial critique may be more influential among humanists than social scientists.

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                                                                                                        • Collins, Patricia Hill, Lionel A. Maldonado, Dana Y. Takagi, Barrie Throne, Lynn Weber, and Howard Winant. 2005. Symposium: On West and Fenstermaker’s “Doing difference.” Gender & Society 9:491–506.

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                                                                                                          Heavily cited symposium that raises a number of concerns with West and Fenstermaker’s “Doing difference” (West and Fenstermaker 1995, cited under Definitions), an update of “Doing gender.” Authors critique the apparent neutrality of the concept of “difference,” arguing that it omits critical attention to power; ask for more attention to the possibilities of resistance and oppositional politics; and highlight an overemphasis on performance and related inattention to structures that maintain these systems of inequality. Emphasizes significant dimensions of intersectionality and potential pitfalls in its implementation.

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                                                                                                          • Davis, Kathy. 2008. Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful. Feminist Theory 9:67–85.

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                                                                                                            Explores the phenomenal success of the concept of intersectionality, coexisting with pervasive confusion about what precisely the concept is. Davis argues that its very vulnerabilities—ambiguity and open-endedness—are precisely why it has been successful and has made key contributions to feminist theory. Suggests that intersectionality alerts us to the profound contradictions and complications of the world we study.

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                                                                                                            • Knapp, Gudrun-Axeli. 2005. Race, class, gender: Reclaiming baggage in fast travelling theories. European Journal of Women’s Studies 12:249–265.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/1350506805054267Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Asserts that the triad of race/class/gender has become an almost ritualistic citation indicative of theoretical stagnation. Citation of this triad also raises the “et cetera” issue, that is, the simultaneous acknowledgment and subsequent dismissal of other important identities and social locations. Underscores that “race” and “class” have very different meanings and connotations in multiple national contexts.

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                                                                                                              • Nash, Jennifer C. 2008. Re-thinking intersectionality. Feminist Review 89:1–15.

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                                                                                                                Motivated by the embrace of intersectionality as a feminist theoretical tool, Nash highlights several paradoxes. First, scholars have not developed a clear methodology of how to examine multiple subject positions. Second, as black women are prototypical intersectional subjects, differences among black women are ignored. Third, ambiguity endures: is intersectionality a theory of marginalized subjectivity or a generalized theory of identity?

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                                                                                                                • Puar, Jasbir. 2011. “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess”: Intersectionality, assemblage, and affective politics. Transversal (multilingual webjournal).

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                                                                                                                  Sees the concept of intersectionality as fundamentally flawed. Argues that the “other” from which intersectionality distinguishes itself is white women; their centrality has been re-secured. Further suggests that intersectionality has become a way to manage difference and disruptive effects it might provoke. Asserts intersectionality has deepened the hegemonic position of the United States in analyses of societal inequality. Looks to a focus on relations and patterns rather than attributes of subjects.

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                                                                                                                  • Shields, Stephanie A. 2008. Gender: An intersectionality perspective. In Special issue: Intersectionality of social identities: A gender perspective. Edited by Stephanie A. Shields. Sex Roles 59:301–311.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s11199-008-9501-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Introduction to a special issue of Sex Roles. Shields argues the full realization of the promise of intersectionality has been impeded by preoccupation with methodological challenges. Although noting the theoretical compatibility and historic links between intersectionality and qualitative methods, she also goes on to recognize that different levels of analysis may require markedly different strategies. Observes that the intersectionality perspective invites scholars to move beyond their comfort zones, both positional and methodological.

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                                                                                                                    • Yuval-Davis, Nira. 2006. Intersectionality and feminist politics. In Special issue: Intersectionality. Edited by Ann Phoenix and Pamela Pattynama. European Journal of Women’s Studies 13:193–209.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/1350506806065752Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Located in a special issue of the European Journal of Women’s Studies, critiques intersectionality as additive, essentializing, and fragmentary. Emphasizes importance of identifying distinct levels of analysis and specific forms of oppression. Suggests how to avoid the assumption that all who belong to a particular category equally share its attributes. Asserts that some social divisions, such as gender or age, tend to shape most people’s lives in most social locations and hence are relevant to a broader range of circumstances.

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                                                                                                                      Intersectional Praxis

                                                                                                                      From the inception of this concept, intersectionality has been more than an academic project. Wilson 1987 underscores the complex, often unanticipated real-world effects of intersectional dynamics. Intersectional analyses have been brought to bear on a variety of social movements directed toward reducing social inequalities (Chun, et al. 2013), and policy advocacy to reduce various manifestations of category-based discrimination (Hankivsky and Cormier 2011). Scholars who have made contributions in these areas demonstrate the reciprocal influences between practice and theory (Luft 2009). Bose 2012 emphasizes cross-national policies. Sherwood 2010 reveals the practice of justification of privilege; Hearn 2011 reminds that privilege can coexist with marginalization; O’Brien and Howard 1998 and Moore 2012 offer examples of the everyday performance of the dynamics of privilege and marginalization.

                                                                                                                      • Bose, Christine. 2012. Intersectionality and global gender inequality. Gender & Society 26:67–72.

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                                                                                                                        Points to the utility of intersectionality in policy domains, particularly in contexts where cross-national policies are being developed. Cites examples ranging from intersectional work-related discrimination experienced by Bush women in Namibia to the work of the Central American Women’s Network in eliminating discrimination through intersecting violences as examples of the need for intersectional analyses in eliminating inequalities through policy changes.

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                                                                                                                        • Chun, Jennifer Jihye, George Lipzitz, and Young Shin. 2013. Intersectionality as a social movement strategy: Asian immigrant women advocates. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 38:917–940.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/669575Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          The authors trace the three decades of history of Asian Immigrant Women Advocates, an organization in the California Bay Area, to demonstrate social movement intersectionality in action, revealing the logic of intersectionalities within an organized movement, and the utility of this approach for exposing interlocking forms of oppression facing immigrant women.

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                                                                                                                          • Hankivsky, Olena, and Renee Cormier. 2011. Intersectionality and public policy: Some lessons from existing models. Political Research Quarterly 64:217–229.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/1065912910376385Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Demonstrates need for an intersectional approach in policy making, policy development, and analysis, with examples from crime policy and violence against women, welfare reform, and emerging health epidemics. Argues that an intersectional analysis is critical to avoid an “oppression Olympics,” where marginal groups are pitted against one another rather than joining to work for systemic reform. Also offer useful methodological suggestions.

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                                                                                                                            • Hearn, Jeff. 2011. Neglected intersectionalities in studying men: Age(ing), virtuality, transnationality. In Framing intersectionality: Debates on a multi-faceted concept in gender studies. Edited by Helma Lutz, Maria Teresa Herrera Vivar, and Linda Supik, 89–104. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

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                                                                                                                              Approaches intersectionality from the perspective of critical masculinity studies. Noting that masculinity is viewed as a position of privilege, suggests that analyzing intersections of the social category “man” with systems of age, transnationality, and even virtual worlds of information and communications technology does greater justice to the complexity of this social category. Various of these neglected intersections present both reinforcements of and contradictions to categorizations of men as hegemonic.

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                                                                                                                              • Luft, Rachel E. 2009. Gender and race logics, and the strategic use of antiracist singularity. In The intersectional approach: Transforming the academy through race, class, and gender. Edited by Michelle Tracy Berger and Kathleen Guidroz, 100–117. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                                                                                                                                Demonstrate tension between theory and activism, reflecting how intersectional approaches vary across different sites of intervention. Maintains that at the micro-level it is sometimes appropriate to emphasize only one system of oppression—a controversial assertion—illustrated with a post–Civil Rights antiracism workshop.

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                                                                                                                                • Moore, Mignon. 2012. Invisible families: Gay identities, relationships, and motherhood among Black women. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                  Presents an ethnography of the ways race influences lesbian practices and family formation, focusing on middle-class and working-class Black lesbians. Illustrates what Choo and Ferree 2010 (cited under Organizational Frameworks of Intersectionality) calls “group-centered” intersectional analysis; Moore considers the experiences of people whose identities and social locations are at the intersection of single dimensions of, in this case, race, sexuality, class, and parental status. A very well-received volume.

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                                                                                                                                  • O’Brien, Jodi, and Judith A. Howard, eds. 1998. Everyday inequalities: Critical inquiries. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                    Collection includes a number of essays that explore how dominance and resistance are performed in everyday situations, highlighting institutional dynamics that shape individual performances. In addition to dynamics of systems that are often the focus of analyses of inequality—race, class, and gender—sexuality, citizenship, disability, and other systems of inequality, and their intersections, are addressed in various of these analyses.

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                                                                                                                                    • Sherwood, Jessica Holden. 2010. Blackness, whiteness, and the matrix of privilege: The view from the country club. Lanham, MD: Lexington.

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                                                                                                                                      Offers one of the few intersectional analyses of privilege through a study of exclusive country clubs. Shows how members’ “matrix of privilege,” expressed in their raced, classed, and gendered positions, shapes their perceptions of club membership. Interviews reveal a white masculine discourse that explains away the frequent club exclusions based on race and gender. Demonstrates the accounts highly privileged individuals use to justify participation in systems that maintain societal inequalities.

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                                                                                                                                      • Wilson, William Julius. 1987. The truly disadvantaged: The inner city, the underclass, and public policy. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                        The original statement of Wilson’s insights about interactions of race and social class that coincide with a narrative of African American racial progress. The emergence and growth of a black middle class has been accompanied by unintended consequences of deepening ghettoization and higher concentrations of poverty in African American urban neighborhoods. Elaborates policy implications of the declining significance of race and intertwined significance of social class.

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                                                                                                                                        Transnational Intersectionalities

                                                                                                                                        The historical and political meanings of category-based systems of societal inequalities vary markedly across geographic contexts, e.g., Chow, et al. 2011, Phoenix and Pattynama 2006. Yuval-Davis 2009 emphasizes the importance of religion; Patil 2013 stresses the context of postcolonial histories. Scholars who employ intersectional analyses must attend to the historical and contemporary specificities of particular systems of difference: Choo 2012 addresses migrant women in South Korea, Koldinská 2009 Roma women in postcommunist states, and Lewis 2013 the marginal role of racial discourse in Europe. Moreover, the number of people living in transnational contexts, combining local, regional, national, and transnational spaces, is expanding rapidly, highlighting the need for transnational lenses on societal inequalities, the key point in Purkayastha 2012.

                                                                                                                                        • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2012. The transnational journey of intersectionality. Gender & Society 26:40–45.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/0891243211426724Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Speaks to the need for an intersectional lens in exploring how migrant women negotiate their citizenship in South Korea. Draws on author’s experience translating Collins’ Black Feminist Thought into Korean, highlighting contradictions between her own outsider position as a member of a diaspora in North American academia and her insider position in South Korea, her country of origin. Use of translation as a vehicle for exploring intersectionality is an intriguing contribution.

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                                                                                                                                          • Chow, Esther Ngan-ling, Marcia Texler Segal, and Lin Tan. eds. 2011. Analyzing gender, intersectionality, and multiple inequalities: Global, transnational and local contexts. Advances in Gender Research 15. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.

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                                                                                                                                            Edited by feminist sociologists with much transnational experience, includes thirteen chapters that apply an intersectional lens to inequalities at the local, transnational, and global levels. Chapters show that it is not possible to analyze such inequalities without taking into account each of these levels, and that each situation is historically specific.

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                                                                                                                                            • Koldinská, Kristina. 2009. Institutionalizing intersectionality: A new path to equality for new member states of the EU? International Feminist Journal of Politics 11:547–565.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/14616740903237509Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Demonstrates intersections of race with gender, sexuality, and reproduction in exploring involuntary sterilization programs of Roma women in a number of postcommunist states.

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                                                                                                                                              • Lewis, Gail. 2013. Unsafe travel: Experiencing intersectionality and feminist displacements. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 38:869–892.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/669609Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Addresses racialized differences that occur in European feminist intersectional analyses. Points to the historical conditions that have created the marginal role of racial discourse in Europe. Asserts the importance of structural analyses of race in Europe for the flexibility of intersectionality to make some disavowed dimensions of inequality central to intersectional analyses.

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                                                                                                                                                • Patil, Vrushali. 2013. From patriarchy to intersectionality: A transnational feminist assessment of how far we’ve really come. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 38:847–867.

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                                                                                                                                                  Offers a powerful critique of “domestic intersectionality” for failing to incorporate the broader context of postcolonial studies. Argues that intersectionality scholarship has not interrogated how transnational dynamics of colonialism and neoliberalism constrain opportunities through intersectional processes of racialized gendering. Argues for expanded intersectional analyses across multiple transnational sites.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Phoenix, Ann, and Pamela Pattynama, eds. 2006. Special issue: Intersectionality. European Journal of Women’s Studies 19:97–114.

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                                                                                                                                                    Special issue explores what is achieved by using intersectionality both theoretically and procedurally. Debates about intersectionality emphasize variously level of analysis, degree of experiential expressions, and appreciation for categorical complexities.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Purkayastha, Bandana. 2012. Intersectionality in a transnational world. Gender & Society 26:55–66.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0891243211426725Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Points to the Euro-American conception of race that has until recently marked much work on intersectionality. Demonstrates that individuals may hold a racial status privileged in one country but marginalized in another. Those who live in transnational spaces may be racial majorities and minorities simultaneously. Complicates the tenet that given individuals may hold both hegemonic and marginalized social positions with the notion that the marginal and hegemonic positions could be along the single dimension of race.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Yuval-Davis, Nira. 2009. Intersectionality and feminist politics. In The intersectional approach: Transforming the academy through race, class, and gender. Edited by Michelle Tracy Berger and Kathleen Guidroz, 44–60. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                                                                                                                                                        Focuses on the growth and significance of intersectionality through global applications. Shares an intersectional approach to human rights policy in the global south. Reveals the complexities of religious identifications in and of themselves and in relationship to ethnic categorizations, noting the categorical opaqueness on which colonial societies depended. Religion is not included in most intersectional analyses; this is a particular contribution of the article.

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                                                                                                                                                        Institutionalization of Intersectionality in the Interdiscipline of Gender Studies

                                                                                                                                                        Intersectionality has become a defining rubric in the field of women’s and gender studies. Levin 2007 attests to this pervasive pattern in women’s and gender studies programs; Smith 2006 confirms the pattern in graduate programs in this field. It is this field, more than any other, that has consistently addressed the significance of intersections among systems of inequality (Fitts 2009 addresses why this is so) and has insisted on the dual interplay between intersectional theories and intersectional praxis. Indeed, the academic presence of intersectionality can be attributed in part to the persistent self-critiques of the field for its exclusions, both historical and contemporary. In this sense it is fair to say that intersectionality has become institutionalized in this interdisciplinary field. Dill, et al. 2009 stress the importance of intersectional practice in institution building in higher education.

                                                                                                                                                        • Dill, Bonnie Thornton, Ruth Enid Zambrana, and Amy McLaughlin. 2009. Transforming the campus climate through institutions, collaboration, and mentoring. In Emerging intersections: Race, class, and gender in theory, policy, and practice. Edited by Bonnie Thornton Dill and Ruth Enid Zambrana, 253–273. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                          Uses a case study to indicate how institution building and collaboration can promote intersectional scholarship and pedagogies. The authors’ experience in higher education administration is invaluable to generating insights about intellectual collaboration, creation of alliances and networks, and mentoring programs. Cautions that programs have been built through investments by committed administrators and faculty for virtually no compensation. This unsustainable investment must be addressed institutionally.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Fitts, Mako. 2009. Institutionalizing intersectionality: Reflections on the structure of women’s studies departments and programs. In The intersectional approach: Transforming the academy through race, class, and gender. Edited by Michelle Tracy Berger and Kathleen Guidroz, 249–257. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                                                                                                                                                            Uses the structure of women’s studies programs to explore how intersectionality is practiced both in classroom and research. Highlights an understudied challenge in women’s and gender studies departments: how founding generations of disciplinarily trained faculty engage with later generations of interdisciplinarily trained faculty. Finds considerably more potential for both interdisciplinary and intersectional innovations in women’s and gender studies programs that are independent, degree-granting, faculty line-holding programs.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Levin, Amy. 2007. Questions for a new century: Women’s studies and integrative learning: A report to the National Women’s Studies Association. College Park, MD: NWSA.

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                                                                                                                                                              Survey of more than 650 women’s and gender studies programs in the United States shows consistency in the inclusion of intersectionality among departmental and programmatic curricula.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Smith, Olivia. 2006. Guide to graduate work in women’s and gender studies. 4th ed. College Park, MD: National Women’s Studies Association.

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                                                                                                                                                                Compilation of graduate programs in women’s and gender studies demonstrates that many graduate programs require work on intersectionality and integrate intersectionality through their course work.

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                                                                                                                                                                Institutionalization of Intersectionality in Disciplines

                                                                                                                                                                Other aspects of institutionalization concern the spread of intersectionality to fields beyond gender studies and sociology, the two academic fields in which it has been most dominant. Dhamoon 2011 proposes advantages of intersectional approach for fields that have not yet adopted it. Citations included here demonstrate engagement with intersectionality in political science and psychology. Simien and Hancock 2011 highlights the contributions of intersectional analyses in four subfields of political science; García Bedolla 1997 demonstrates one such analysis. Verloo 2006 addresses the importance of intersectional analyses of political practices in Europe. Cole 2009 explores why psychologists have been slow to incorporate intersectionality; Warner 2008 offers best practices for doing so.

                                                                                                                                                                • Cole, Elizabeth R. 2009. Intersectionality and research in psychology. American Psychologist 64:170–180.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Suggests that psychologists have been slow to incorporate intersectionality, despite the fact that it enables analyses of social categories with complexity and contextual grounding. Speculates this hesitation is due to the lack of guidelines about how to incorporate it. Poses three questions to enable psychologists to make better use of this critical concept: Who is included in relevant categories? What role does inequality play? Where are there similarities across categories?

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Dhamoon, Rita Kaur. 2011. Considerations on mainstreaming intersectionality. Political Research Quarterly 64:230–243.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/1065912910379227Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Suggests five considerations for disciplines unfamiliar with the intersectional paradigm, here political science. Asserts that focusing on processes and systems is more effective than emphasizing identities and categories of difference. Highlights challenges of simultaneous attention to organizational, intersubjective, experiential, and representational levels. Finds intersectional paradigm can lead to a political praxis that can disrupt relations of privilege and penalty.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • García Bedolla, Lisa. 1997. Intersections of inequality: Understanding marginalization and privilege in the post–civil rights era. Politics & Gender 3:232–248.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Begins with the contradiction that the United States has become more integrated across racial and gendered lines in the past fifty years, but economic inequality has grown. Notes the heterogeneity of privilege within marginal groups, pointing to the utility for political scientists of using intersectionality as a tool to help understand the crosscutting political effects of both marginalization and privilege within and among groups in US society.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Simien, Evelyn M., and Ange-Marie Hancock. 2011. Mini-symposium: Intersectionality research. Political Research Quarterly 64:185–186.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1065912910393647Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Symposium highlights different approaches to intersectionality of interest to political scientists. Essays address four subfields: political theory, American politics, comparative politics, and public policy. Each selection addresses research on intersectionally stigmatized populations at varying levels of analysis, demonstrating both the value of exploring intersectional questions in political science and the significance of intersectionality for addressing key questions in political science.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Verloo, Mieke. 2006. Multiple inequalities, intersectionality and the European Union. European Journal of Women’s Studies 13:211–228.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/1350506806065753Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Noting that political and policy practice in Europe only rarely refer to intersectionality, considers intersections of multiple inequalities in the European Union. Key points: inequalities exist in both public and private spheres; inequalities are not equivalent; inequalities are dynamic, experienced differently, and reproduced differently; inequalities are deeply interconnected; power struggles among them should be anticipated by balancing resources and institutionalization.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Warner, Leah R. 2008. A best practices guides to intersectional approaches in psychological research. Sex Roles 59:454–463.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s11199-008-9504-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Offers best practices for psychological researchers exploring intersectionality. Statistical constraints may limit the number of identities that can be evaluated; requires explicit, transparent decision rules. Observes that psychologists treat identity as a stable group of traits, minimizing social structural constraints in which identities are embedded. Cautions about importance of attending to invisibility, which can protect the privileged and render individuals unrepresented.

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