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Intersectionality
Kaufmann, Lauren; Mead, Jenny Technical Note E-0500 / Published October 12, 2023 / 5 pages.
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This note gives an overview of intersectionality, which is a theory, originally from legal scholarship, that explains how multiple forms of social inequality interact to produce individuals' experiences of marginalization. Intersectionality gives us a language to understand the systemic practices and structural barriers that perpetuate social inequities. As a theoretical paradigm, intersectionality provides a framework for understanding how categories of social difference (e.g., gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, class, age, disability status, and refugee and immigration status) interact with structures of power (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and xenophobia) to explain unequal material effects within a particular context (organizational, local, and national). The note covers the origins of the term, its application in the workforce, and its mechanisms and outcomes, as well as its use in academic research and managerial practice. The note also shows how the term, which has become embedded in popular culture, became a somewhat controversial buzzword the early 2020s.




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  • Overview

    This note gives an overview of intersectionality, which is a theory, originally from legal scholarship, that explains how multiple forms of social inequality interact to produce individuals' experiences of marginalization. Intersectionality gives us a language to understand the systemic practices and structural barriers that perpetuate social inequities. As a theoretical paradigm, intersectionality provides a framework for understanding how categories of social difference (e.g., gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, class, age, disability status, and refugee and immigration status) interact with structures of power (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and xenophobia) to explain unequal material effects within a particular context (organizational, local, and national). The note covers the origins of the term, its application in the workforce, and its mechanisms and outcomes, as well as its use in academic research and managerial practice. The note also shows how the term, which has become embedded in popular culture, became a somewhat controversial buzzword the early 2020s.

  • Learning Objectives