Kimberle Crenshaw (1989) coined the term “intersectionality” to offer a framework for understanding how discrimination stems not just from a single form of oppression (i.e., racism or sexism), but from multiple forms of oppression simultaneously. Take, for example, how the intersectionality framework would suggest considering the experiences of Black women. Instead of considering a single form of oppression — such as just racism or just sexism — or considering these forms as distinct, the intersectionality framework would suggest that these forms should be considered together as multiplicative and overlapping.
The study of identity has recently been expanded by attempts to apply the intersectionality framework in psychology, often with conflicting approaches. In the iLit project, DICE explores how psychology has attempted to use the intersectionality framework in empirical examinations of identity.
In order to effectively study identity, the intersectionality framework is critical, as it encourages us to conceptualize how larger systems of power, privilege, and oppression intersect with social categories, like race, class, gender, and sexuality. How is psychology currently operationalizing the intersectionality framework within methodology? How effective is that application in capturing the intersectional experience of identity? DICE explores these questions through examining existing literature on identity that claims to use the intersectionality framework in its methodology.
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- Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241. [LINK]
- Shields, S. (2008). Gender: An intersectionality perspective. Sex Roles, 59, 301-311. [LINK]
- Bowleg, L. (2008). When black + lesbian + woman ≠ black lesbian woman: The methodological challenges of qualitative and quantitative intersectionality research. Sex Roles, 59, 312-325. [LINK]