Intersectionality and Social Change: Volume 37


Table of contents

(18 chapters)
click here to view access options
click here to view access options

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
click here to view access options


Page ix
click here to view access options


Pages xi-xix
click here to view access options

This chapter analyzes the intersectionality of inequalities based on class, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity within the Indignados (indignant or outraged people) movement of Spain. By analyzing the interpretative frames and organizational practices of the movement, we looked for influencing factors and the degree to which the movement has incorporated an intersectional perspective into its interpretative frames. Some of the frames did attend to the various inter-related forms of inequality. The factors influencing an intersectional perspective included: the presence of coexisting or inclusive forms of expressing the collective identity of the movement, mechanisms implemented to balance asymmetries among actors, and the confluence of three of the four dominant frames within the movement.


Relations between Indigenous women and the Australian women’s movement have never been easy. For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women the white women’s movement has seemed irrelevant to the real struggles in Aboriginal women’s lives, which have tended to be more politically aligned with Indigenous struggles more broadly. Many Aboriginal women have viewed white feminists as insensitive to their own role in Australia’s colonial history and the implications of this for contemporary intercultural relations. In response to such criticism, many white feminists have struggled with the challenge of effective cross cultural engagement and collaboration.

This chapter brings an intersectional analysis to bear in an effort to understand these challenges, developing a framing of agonistic processes of collective identity as a way of thinking about the potentially productive role of conflict in social movements. Through an examination of Indigenous and non-Indigenous responses to a particular policy framework, the chapter suggests that feminist interventions focussing on the negative, racist impacts of the policy have tended to neglect the gendered dimensions of the underlying problem. As a result these arguments risk neglecting (some) women’s lived experiences.


Taking an intersectional approach, this chapter makes a theoretical and empirical contribution to the study of mothers’ movements in the context of social welfare cutbacks in Israel. I argue that the political use of the maternal identity provides an important cultural resource to women’s social movements, yet all women cannot access this advantage equally. By adding an intersectional perspective to the literature on women’s movements and media debates, this empirical study shows that the ability of different groups of women to politically mobilize their maternal identity in the news is impacted by their class and racial backgrounds. I focus on Israel as an ambiguous case that reflects both the political relevance of maternal identity as mobilized by different political actors, as well as the intersectional dynamics of marginalization of women’s movements within contentious media debates about austerity policies. Using critical discourse analysis, I analyzed 268 newspaper articles that discuss the Israeli Single Mothers’ Movement, a welfare rights movement of low-income women of color (Mizrahi). I find two competing frames converging across the newspapers analyzed: the first draws on a nationalist discourse of the “mother of the nation” to present a positive image of a heroic “mothers’ movement”; the second draws on racist and sexist images to negatively frame activists as a “Mizrahi movement” of undeserving poor mothers. I show how the contested construction of the Single Mothers’ Movement in the news media is directly connected to hegemonic Israeli discourse on motherhood and ethnicity, and demonstrate how this shapes the movement’s public image and its political and feminist value.


Age has not received much attention in the literature on social movements, but it is an important part of human identity. Like other people, activists engage in age-related “identity work.” By studying age dynamics – cooperation and conflict between and among age-based groups – we can learn about collective identity and conflict. This chapter examines age-related discourse and interaction in the feminist movement in Argentina. As the movement has grown and gained momentum over the past 15 years, younger women have joined movement pioneers. Drawing on data from interviews with activists and participant observation in Buenos Aires during three periods (1998, 2001–2003, and 2011), the study examines narratives as an aspect of age-related identity work. While discourse about distance and conflict were common in the earlier periods, when the movement’s pioneers dominated, narratives about cooperation and respect surfaced in the later period as young women shared the movement with older ones. In movements with multiple age-based cohorts, age gains salience with interaction.


This chapter theorizes, and provides field-based illustrations, about new ways to foster intergroup collaboration beginning first with intragroup conflict engagement. While the author has been experimenting with these ideas and practices for many years, this chapter represents still early efforts to lay out an agenda for systematic research and experimentation.

I hypothesize that by successfully engaging internal conflicts about outgroups within ingroups, sides may separately become more willing and able to successfully and interactively solve shared problems and achieve superordinate goals between them. History is filled with attempts at cooperation between antagonistic groups – whether through negotiated agreement, functional cooperation, promoting positive contact and attitudes, and so forth – that have led instead to worsening attitudes and renewed confrontation. Even when polarized groups decide to cooperate to achieve superordinate goals (Sherif, 1966) they are often unable to make this leap from conflict to collaboration. I posit that this may be in part because inadequate attention is paid first to intragroup conflict dynamics vis-à-vis outgroups.


Social movement scholars have increasingly drawn attention to the process of “bridge building” in social movements – that is, the process by which activists attempt to resolve conflicts stemming from different collective identities. However, most scholars assume that social movements primarily attempt to resolve tensions among activists themselves, and thus that bridge building is a means to other ends rather than a primary goal of social movement activism. In this chapter, I challenge these assumptions through a case study of a “bridging organization” known as Bridge Builders, which sought as its primary goal to “bridge the gap between the LGBT and Christian communities” at a Christian university in Nashville, Tennessee. I highlight the mechanisms by which Bridge Builders attempted to facilitate bridge building at the university, and I argue that Bridge Builders succeeded in bridging (a) disparate institutional identities at their university, (b) “structural holes” between LGBT- and religious-identified groups at their university, and (c) oppositional personal identities among organizational members. As I discuss in the conclusion, the case of Bridge Builders has implications for literatures on bridge building in social movements, cultural and biographical consequences of social movements, and social movement strategy.


Social movement scholarship points to the significance of collective identity in social movement emergence. This chapter examines the relationship between structural identities, such as race, gender, and sexuality, and the collective identity of student activist conferences in order to analyze how groups succeed or fail at engaging difference. Utilizing ethnographic participant observation at two student activist conferences – one of majority Black students and the other of majority white male students – this chapter employs an intersectional framework in analyzing the resonance of organizational collective action frames. This chapter finds that cultural resonance, frame centrality, and experiential commensurability are all important factors in engaging difference, and that the utilization of political intersectionality in framing may shape frame resonance. This framework that applies intersectionality to framing contributes to social movement analysis by recognizing how structural identities shape collective identity and group mobilization.


This is the first study to examine AIDS activism among African American women. It also argues for womanism as a framework that can more accurately examine activism among African American women. Based on in-depth interviews with 36 African American women AIDS activists, this chapter explores factors that encourage activism among this sample of women. Intersectionality, and its emphasis on notions of identity and intersecting oppressions and social justice, is used as the theoretical framework to examine AIDS activism among these women. Findings suggest that their identities as activists and African American women, as well as their spirituality and notions of community uplift and survival have informed their activism efforts. These findings are discussed along with the limitations of utilizing intersectionality as the theoretical framework. Womanism is suggested as a theoretical framework that can extend the notions of identity and activism among people of color emphasized by intersectionality, as it addresses identity and social justice, but also highlights the importance of spirituality and community uplift among this sample of women.


We analyze reactions to the U.S. government-led repression of WikiLeaks in late 2010 by actors such as Anonymous and the Pirate Parties to argue that the potential for backlash, which has been so prominent offline, is also a potential repercussion of repression online. In doing so, we use existing research to identify different ways in which bystanders might be pulled into conflicts, and examine our case for evidence of any of these forms of backlash. We also hypothesize that the net observed effect of repression is really the result of competing and/or amplifying backlash and deterrence effects; when this net effect is in favor of backlash, we call it a “net backlash effect” to indicate that there was more backlash than deterrence. We argue that net backlash occurs when repression recruits more bystanders into a conflict than it is able to deter in terms of already active participants. We also argue that backlash is a very likely outcome when Internet activism is repressed.


Scholarship on the state control of social movements has predominately focused on overt repression, resulting in comparatively less attention to more covert forms of control. Researchers have suggested that government surveillance of social movement organizations (SMOs) has become increasingly widespread and routinized in the post-September 11, 2001 era, but this hypothesis has remained untested. Since contemporary surveillance is grounded in a logic of information gathering that has diffused across law enforcement agencies since the September 11 attacks, government actors now cast a wide net and monitor a large variety of groups. This study shows that a result, traditional factors predicting surveillance, such as contentious behavior, have less explanatory power. Using a database of 409 SMOs active in Philadelphia between January 1996 and October 2009, the research asked who and why particular groups are monitored by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security (PA-OHS) between November 2009 and September 2010. Bayesian logistic regression analysis is used to examine the variables predicting surveillance. Findings show that 23% of the SMOs in the sample were targets of surveillance. Organizational ideology was the strongest predictor and there was little evidence that history of contentious protests or previous conflict with the police influenced coming under surveillance. However, groups with less visibility in traditional media sources were more likely to be monitored.

About the Authors

Pages 265-268
click here to view access options
Publication date
Book series
Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN