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Definition of Intersectionality

(noun) The inequalities produced by simultaneous and intertwined statuses and how that influences the life course of an individual or group.

Example of Intersectionality

Etymology of Intersectionality

  • Theory developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw (born 1959) in 1989. Originally a feminist theory for explaining how different axes of social, biological, and cultural categories intersect in the lives of individuals and the difficulties of understanding one axis in isolation without looking at others and how they affect each other.

Intersectionality Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: in·ter·sec·tion·al·i·ty

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˌɪn(t)ərˌsɛkʃəˈnælədi/
  • British English – /ˌɪntəˌsɛkʃəˈnalᵻti/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: intersectionalities
  • Also called:
    • cumulative disadvantage
    • intersection theory
    • intersectionalism
    • multiple jeopardy

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Additional Information

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Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Works Consulted

Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.

Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Intersectionality

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “intersectionality.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 18, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/intersectionality/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

intersectionality. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/intersectionality/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “intersectionality.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 18, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/intersectionality/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“intersectionality.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/intersectionality/>.