Enzo Colombo, Paola Rebughini

Intersectionality and beyond

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Intersectionality; Agency/Structure; Social Construction; Social Location.

The possibility to analyse the articulation of class, gender and race/ethnicity, instead of considering them as independent and separate forms of power relations, is at the basis of the notion of intersectionality as an epistemological approach to domination. The analysis conducted in this article tries to enlarge the theoretical and heuristic potential of intersectionality as an analytical tool not exclusively related to the investigation of overlapping forms of oppression but which also concerns the more general relationship between individual agency and structural determinants. The aim is to show how intersectionality can make a new contribution to the traditional agency/structure debate. Our proposal is that observing intersectionality from a standpoint not necessarily related with the premise of domination by standardized categories can help bring out the complex dynamics of situated opportunities and constraints. Considering intersectionality as an element of the agency/structure interplay can assist investigation of when, how, and what categories become relevant in power dynamics. Since social categories are at the same time inevitable and irreducible, but also malleable and dialogical, intersectionality can stress the fluidity and instability of social location; it can help to avoid the essentialization of both social categories and identities; and it can shed light on the ongoing processes of reciprocal influence between the construction of structure and the creation of agency.

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