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Thinking the multiple in gender and diversity studies: examining the concept of intersectionality

Alexander Styhre (Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Ulla Eriksson‐Zetterquist (Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 7 November 2008

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Citation

Styhre, A. and Eriksson‐Zetterquist, U. (2008), "Thinking the multiple in gender and diversity studies: examining the concept of intersectionality", Gender in Management, Vol. 23 No. 8, pp. 567-582. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542410810912690

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited