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Chapter Wk 1

SOC367H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter Wk 1: Intersectionality

Course Code
Judith Taylor
Wk 1

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Week 1 Reading Intersectionality 101
By Olena Hankivsky
What is Intersectionality?
Inequalities are never the result of single, distinct factors Rather they are the outcome of intersections of
different social locations, power relations and experiences.
- Understanding of human beings as shaped by the interaction of different social locations
o Occurs within a context of connected systems and structures of power
Key Tenets:
- Lives are multidimensional and complex. Realities are shaped by different factors and social
dynamics operating together
- Categories and their importance must be discovered in the process of investigation, not
- Relationships and power dynamics between social locations and processes are linked. They can also
change over time and be different depending on geographic settings
- People can experience privilege and oppression simultaneously. Depends on the situation/context
that the person is in
- Multi-level analyses linking individual experiences to broader structures/systems are crucial for
revealing how power relations are shaped and experienced
- Scholars/researchers/policy makers/activists must consider their own social position, role and power
when taking an intersectional approach.
o Refleivit should be in place before setting priorities and directions in work
- Explicitly oriented towards transformation, building coalitions and among different groups, and
working towards social justice
Intersectionality is the belief that oppressions are interlinked and cannot be solved alone. Oppressions are not
isolated. The oppression for one affects all.
What is the Appeal of Intersectionality?
- Moving beyond single identities/group-specific concerns
- Exploring new research and policy approaches to understanding all these connections
- Generating new and more complete information to better understand origins, root causes and
characteristics of social issues - accomplished by studying existing data/producing new data
- Enable more effective and efficient responses approach to solving persistent and growing social
Principles of Intersectionality
- Intersecting Categories
o Human lives cannot be reduced to single categories
o Conceptualizing social categories as interacting with and co-constituting one another to
create unique social locations that vary according to time and place
- Multi-level Analysis
o Concerned with understanding the effects between and across various levels in society
Macro, intermediate, micro, etc.
o Requires addressing processes of inequity and differentiation across levels of structure,
identity and representation
- Power
o Power operates at discursive and structural levels
o Shapes subject positions and categories (i.e. race)
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