Theorizing and Researching Intersectionality: A Challenge for Feminist Geography

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Abstract:

This article focuses on the concept of intersectionality, which is being used within the wider social sciences by feminists to theorize the relationship between different social categories: gender, race, sexuality, and so forth. Although research within the field of feminist geography has explored particular interconnections such as those between gender and race, the theoretical concept of intersectionality as debated in the wider social sciences has not been addressed. This article attempts to respond to that omission. It begins by tracing the emergence of debates about the interconnections between gender and other identities. It goes on to reflect on attempts to map geometries of oppressions. The emphasis then moves from theorizing intersectionality to questioning how it can be researched in practice by presenting a case study to illustrate intersectionality as lived experience. The conclusion demonstrates the contribution that feminist geography can make to advance the theorization of intersectionality through its appreciation of the significance of space in processes of subject formation. It calls for feminist geography to pay more attention to questions of power and social inequalities.

Keywords: feminism; identity; intersectionality; lived experience

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9272.2007.00587.x

Affiliations: University of Leeds

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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