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Why we keep separating the ‘inseparable’ : Dialecticizing intersectionality

  • Lena Gunnarsson
Publiceringsår: 2017
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 114-127
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Women's Studies
Volym: 24
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: SAGE Publications

Abstract english

Disputes about how to understand intersectional relations often pivot around the tension between separateness and inseparability, where some scholars emphasize the need to separate between different intersectional categories while others claim they are inseparable. In this article the author takes issue with the either/or thinking that underpins an unnecessary and unproductive polarization in the debate over the in/separability of intersectional categories. Drawing on Roy Bhaskar’s dialectical critical realist philosophy, the author argues that we can think of intersectional categories as well as different ontological levels as both distinct and unified and elaborates on the significance of the dialectical notion of unity-in-difference for intersectional studies. As part of the argument the author addresses 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.


  • Gender Studies
  • Analytical distinctions
  • anticategorical intersectionality
  • critical realism
  • dialectical critical realism
  • dialectics
  • feminist theory
  • intersectionality
  • intra-action
  • ontology
  • unity-in-difference


  • ISSN: 1350-5068
Lena Gunnarsson
E-post: lena [dot] gunnarsson [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se


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