Intersectionality

  • A radical and political concept – much derives from a black feminist standpoint
  • Centrally concerns intersecting oppressions in the context of the US and interested in systems of oppression such as patriarchy, racism and capitalism
  • Influenced by standpoint theories which prioritise experience, perspectives of those marginalised and everyday forms of knowledge

  • influenced by black feminist and materialist thoerised which focused on structure of power rather than interpersonal or individualistic explanations for black women’s low status
  • focus of the key article in 1989 by Crenshaw was poor black woman’s experiences of discrimination, disadvantage and marginalisation

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What informed intersectionality?

  • Combahee River Collective, 1977, “A black feminist statement”
  • Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga 1989 This bridge called my back
  • Hazel Carby (1982) White women listen!
  • bell hooks (1982) Aint I a woman
  • Angela Davis (1983) Women, Race and Class
  • Bonnie Thorton Dill ‘Race Class and Gender’
  • Audre Lorde (1984) Sister Outsider
  • Patricia Hill Collins (1986) Learning from the Outsider within

All these texts were to alert to the different needs and issues of black women. The advent of intersectionality is not the beginning of thinking about multiple forms of differences, its one particular constellation that came to be seen under the term intersectionality.

A lot of focus on US in the works of intersectionality…

Not a theory of multiple and equal difference or simply of multiple identities – do not detach them from structure of oppression!
Has expanded and now addresses sexuality, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, nationality and more recently rethinking
Rarely a focus on men, until more recently

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