Definition of Intersectionality
Example of Intersectionality
- A working class woman faces gender and economic discrimination but a working class woman of color faces economic, gender, and racial discrimination.
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.
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˌɪn(t)ərˌsɛkʃəˈnælədi/
- British English – /ˌɪntəˌsɛkʃəˈnalᵻti/
- Plural: intersectionalities
- Also called:
- cumulative disadvantage
- intersection theory
- multiple jeopardy
- “The sociological imagination allows us to identify the links between our personal lives and the larger social forces of life—to see that what is happening to us immediately is a minute point at which our personal lives and society intersect” (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:8).
- “The term “intersectionality” was introduced by black feminists who argued that white feminists who ignored the interaction of race and gender systems obscured problems uniquely faced by women of color. More to the point, writes political scientist S. L. Weldon, ‘Black feminists argued that their problems and experiences could not be described as the problems of Black men plus the problems of white women. Black women face many problems as Black women, and their unique perspectives, identities and experiences cannot be derived from examination of the experiences and position of either Black men or white women.’ Intersectionality introduces critical perspectives on the complex interrelations of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Feminist theorist bell hooks frames this concept in terms of margin and center; author Gloria Anzaldúa describes experiences as “border” or mestiza consciousness; legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term ‘intersectionality theory.’ To make a difference, intersectional analysis must go beyond describing individuals’ identities. This framework enables us to use a feminist lens for understanding transnational issues such as imperialism, pollution, war, human trafficking, and globalization. Intersectional analysis can be used to work toward the systemic change needed for all people to be able to maximize participation in free societies” (Tarrant 2009:13–14).
Related Online Discussion
- Sex and Gender Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Alonso, Alba. 2012. “Intersectionality by Other Means? New Equality Policies in Portugal.” Social Politics 19(4):596–621. doi:10.1093/sp/jxs017.
- Andersen, Margaret L., and Patricia Hill-Collins, eds. 2009. Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
- Barnard, Helen, and Claire Turner. 2011. Poverty and Ethnicity: A Review of the Evidence. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
- Berger, Michele Tracy, and Kathleen Guidroz, eds. 2009. The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy through Race, Class, and Gender. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
- Crenshaw, Kimberlé W. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review 43(6):1241–99. doi:10.2307/1229039.
- Grusky, David B., ed. 2014. Social Stratification: Class, Race and Gender in Sociological Perspective. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Hancock, Ange-Marie. 2007. “Intersectionality as a Normative and Empirical Paradigm.” Politics and Gender 3(2):248–54. doi:10.1017/s1743923x07000062.
- Lykke, N. 2011. “Intersectional Invisibility: Inquiries into a Concept of Intersectionality Studies.” Pp. 207–20 in Framing Intersectionality: Debates on a Multi-Faceted Concept in Gender Studies, edited by H. Lutz, M. T. H. Vivar, and L. Supik. Farnham: Ashgate.
- Rothman, Robert A. 2005. Inequality and Stratification: Class, Race and Gender. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Smooth, W. G. 2010. “Intersectionalities of Race and Gender and Leadership.” Pp. 31–40 in Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook, Vol. 1, edited by K. O’Connor. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Taylor, Yvette, Sally Hines, and Mark E. Casey, eds. 2010. Theorizing Intersectionality and Sexuality. Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.
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.
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/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “intersectionality.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved January 18, 2021 (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 January 18, 2021. https://sociologydictionary.org/intersectionality/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“intersectionality.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2021. <https://sociologydictionary.org/intersectionality/>.