Using Intersectionality Responsibly: Toward Critical Epistemology, Structural Analysis, and Social Justice Activism

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Abstract

The increasing popularity of the concept of intersectionality in the social sciences, including in psychology, represents an opportunity to reflect on the state of stewardship of this concept, its roots, and its promise. In this context, the authors aim to promote responsible stewardship of intersectionality and to tip the momentum of intersectionality’s flourishing toward fuller use and engagement of its roots and promise for understanding and challenging dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression. To this end, this article provides a set of guidelines for reflection and action. The authors organize these guidelines along 3 major formulations of intersectionality: intersectionality as a field of study, as analytic strategy or disposition, and as critical praxis for social justice. Ultimately, the authors call for expanding the use of intersectionality toward fuller engagement with its roots in Black feminist thought, its current interdisciplinary richness and potential, and its central aims to challenge and transform structures and systems of power, privilege, and oppression.

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