Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries by Vivian M. May

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By Vivian M. May

Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries bargains a sustained, interdisciplinary exploration of intersectional principles, histories, and practices that no different textual content does. Deftly synthesizing a lot of the present literatures on intersectionality, some of the most major theoretical and political precepts of our time, might invitations us to confront a disconcerting challenge: although intersectionality is well known, acclaimed, and utilized, it is usually construed in ways in which depoliticize, undercut, or perhaps violate its most elementary premises. may well cogently demonstrates how intersectionality has been time and again resisted, misunderstood, and misapplied: provocatively, she indicates the measure to which intersectionality is usually undone or undermined via supporters and critics alike. A clarion name to have interaction intersectionality’s radical principles, histories, and justice orientations extra meaningfully, Pursuing Intersectionality solutions the elemental questions surrounding intersectionality, attends to its old roots in Black feminist concept and politics, and provides insights and methods from around the disciplines for bracketing dominant logics and for orienting towards intersectional tendencies and practices.

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Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries

Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries bargains a sustained, interdisciplinary exploration of intersectional principles, histories, and practices that no different textual content does. Deftly synthesizing a lot of the prevailing literatures on intersectionality, some of the most major theoretical and political precepts of our time, may perhaps invitations us to confront a disconcerting challenge: although intersectionality is celebrated, acclaimed, and utilized, it's always construed in ways in which depoliticize, undercut, or maybe violate its most elementary premises.

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We are situated in, constrained by, and able to resist within, myriad forms of power: at the same time, we are capable of complicity with dominance on various fronts. 40 What Is Intersectionality? This attention to multiplicity at the level of the subject is important. For instance, intersectionality rejects “pop-bead metaphysics,” or the notion that each identity is sequential, homogeneous, and separable, like pull-apart beads on plastic toy necklaces (Spelman 1988, 15, 136). This also has implications for politics (as I shall discuss more fully in the next section), as demonstrated by Linda LaRue’s denunciation, in 1970, of “common oppression” frames that impose an either/or ontology.

Using both/and, same/ different thinking, groups can be characterized by their potential to organize around “heterogeneous commonality” rather than homogeneity (Collins 2003, 221). Lugones thus advocates taking up “curdled” logics that allow for the multiplicity of the subject as nonfragmentable and that conceive of coalescing, politically, not as homogeneity (since homogenization requires the breaking down of molecules to create oneness), but as more akin to an “emulsion,” wherein the suspended molecules are understood as both separate and linked, one and many simultaneously (Lugones 1994).

Cooper sees herself as belonging to both, yet recognizes that these categories are falsely presented as separate then violently enforced as distinct so as to uphold white supremacy via the specter of white femininity, the “LADIES” (Cooper 1988, 96, capitals original). Furthermore, intersectional approaches treat subjectivity as “mediated,” not as given or static. Embodiment, lived experience, social location, and historical context are all relevant factors: intersectionality “foreground[s] the social dynamics and relations that constitute subjects, displacing the emphasis on the subjects (and categories) themselves as the starting point of inquiry” (Cho, Crenshaw, and McCall 2013, 796).

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