Article Details

Is the Concept of Intersectionality Merely A Fashionable ‘Buzzword’ or A Valuable Tool for Feminist Analysis? | Original Article

Nivedita Pathak* Suprit Panigrahi in Shodhaytan (RNTUJ-STN) | Multidisciplinary Academic Research


Intersectionality as an approach was first brought to attention by Kimberle`Crenshaw in 1989 and though it cannot be said that the theory was a runaway success, yet, it was discussed and used by Feminist researchers to understand the multidimensional ways by which identities shape the construction of hegemonic masculinities. This paper closely examines Kathy Davis article titled ‘Intersectionality as buzzword A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful’ (2008) to understand the importance of intersectionality as an approach to deconstruct the notions of women, who by far, were considered as a single, unified, homogenous group. In her article, she incorporated Murray Davis’s (1986) work on success of theories and selected intersectionality theory as an example to comprehend whether intersectionality is a significant tool for Feminist analysis or merely a fashionable ‘buzzword’. Towards the end of this paper four intersectionality approach based studies have been brought in to critic and compare the merits and demerits of the approach. In order to reason the importance of intersectionality in feminist research and contemplate on the idea of it merely being a buzzword, one has to inquire into the evolution, progress and applicability of the theory. It cannot be denied that contemporary women studies cannot focus on gender alone because of the vast difference and diversity among women which cannot be ignored any longer. Such work will be rejected, that fails to inquire into ‘race’, ‘class’ and ‘sexuality’ along with ‘gender’.