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Why we keep separating the ‘inseparable’: Dialecticizing intersectionality
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (Centre for feminist social studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7766-8696
2015 (English)In: The European Journal of Women's Studies, ISSN 1350-5068, E-ISSN 1461-7420Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Disputes about how to understand intersectional relations often pivot around the tension between separateness and inseparability, where some scholars emphasise the need to separate between different intersectional categories while others claim they are inseparable. In this article I take issue with the either/or thinking that underpins what I see as an unnecessary and unproductive polarization in the debate over the in/separability of intersectional categories. Drawing on Roy Bhaskar’s dialectical critical realist philosophy, I argue that we can think of intersectional categories as well as different ontological levels as both distinct and unified and elaborate on the significance of the dialectical notion of unity-in-difference for intersectional studies. As part of the argument I address the issue of what it actually means for something to be distinct or separate as opposed to inseparable or unified with something else, demonstrating that lack of clarity about this is at the heart of polarized arguments about separateness versus inseparability in intersectionality theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015.
Keyword [en]
Analytical distinctions, anticategorical intersectionality, critical realism, dialectical critical realism, dialectics, feminist theory, intersectionality, intra-action, ontology, unity-in-difference
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-42872DOI: 10.1177/1350506815577114OAI: diva2:789832
Feminist Theorizings of Intersectionality, Transversal Dialogues and New Synergies
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-02-20 Created: 2015-02-20 Last updated: 2016-04-07Bibliographically approved

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Gunnarsson, Lena
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School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
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