Intersectionality as a Research Perspective

Historically, intersectionality as a tool for the analysis of interdependencies between social categories and hierarchies was developed within Black Feminism. As early as 1851, Sojourner Truth used her speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” in Akron/Ohio to draw attention to the overlapping of issues of gender and race. The paradigm of intersectionality came to international prominence when Kimberlé Crenshaw used the term to explain the way lines of difference overlap using the analogy of “traffic in an intersection” (1989). It is a question of making visible specific experiences of discrimination which cannot be sufficiently understood if categories like gender or race are studied in isolation. But forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism or classism do not simply accumulate; they can combine and produce new forms of discrimination. Theories of intersectionality have been developed further in recent years. The concept is no longer limited to the triad of race, class and gender, but has expanded to take into account other lines of difference, such as disability or sexual orientation.

Crenshaw Intersectionality
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Pexels Rodnae

Intersectional Gender Equality Work

In gender equality work, an intersectional perspective means knowing that multiple forms of discrimination can overlap or take effect at the same time. Since it is impossible to look at gender in isolation, it is important to be aware of the various lines of difference, to observe their specific intersections and subject them to critical analysis in cases of discrimination.

Further Reading (German)

These websites provide information on the paradigm of intersectionality. 

Portal Intersektionalität offers a virtual platform to those working with the paradigms of intersectionality and interdependencies in their research or practice. It serves to foster information, cooperation and networking and thus contributes to the evolution of research, teaching and practice.

The Gunda Werner Institute for Feminism and Gender Democracy introduces ist intersectional work and explains what that means in practice.

The Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education) provides an introduction to the concept of intersectionality and discusses problems that can arise in this context.

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