Thinking the multiple in gender and diversity studies: Examining the concept of intersectionality
Journal article, 2009
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept of intersectionality. In recent management writing, a vocabulary has been introduced which enacts concepts such as assemblages, multiplicity, rhizomes, and becoming. Such a vocabulary is helpful when revising the theoretical models used in gender research. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on this fluid mode of thinking, which is fundamentally indebted to a process thinking that favours becoming and change over stability and fixed entities as the primary analytical categories, the concept of intersectionality is discussed. Findings – It is suggested that intersectionality perspectives, a concept developed to enable the analysis of co-existing and co-operating registers of knowledge and power, may inform gender and diversity studies and organization theory in general. Rather than reducing all sorts of identities or subject-positions to a single plane, intersectionality perspectives conceive of identity as being derived from different registers functioning as shifting planes, at times operating detachedly from one another; in other cases directly overlapping and even clashing. Practical implications – Intersectionality thinking is capable of influencing a variety of organizational and managerial practices. Originality/value – The paper seeks to bridge process thinking, gender theory, and diversity management literature through introducing the concept of intersectionality as a helpful tool when thinking of organizational practice.