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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Intersectionality has become the dominant form of feminist social science analysis. This chapter first examines the origins of intersectional analysis—which conceives of gender, race, class, and sexuality interacting forms of oppression—in the work of U.S. feminist academics in the 1980s, following the lead of feminists activists of color in the 1960s and 1970s who conceptualized their struggles in complex terms. The next section traces how intersectionality has widened into “intersectionality studies,” as the concept has traveled and definitions of intersectionality have proliferated. The author concludes that, despite its possible limitations, an intersectional sensibility is useful for those engaged in movement studies, because it helps scholars to conceptualize the relationships between voluntary action on the part of movement participants and social structures they inhabit/encounter, and because intersectionality’s view of oppositional communities as coalitions dovetails well with work that seeks to examine how movements are formed and operate as coalitions.

Keywords: intersectionality, feminism, gender, race, class, sexuality

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