Intersectionality and discrimination

Intersectionality. The main impression this inelegant heptasyllabic word has made on me over the years is the almost automatic way in which any analysis focusing on it tends to indulge in spatial metaphor.

No wonder, as the notion of intersectionality is itself a spatial metaphor struggling to
upgrade itself (or reduce itself, depending on one’s perspective) to a technical legal and/or social science term. This issue of the Equal Rights Review is an ample case in point, as well as, hopefully, a snapshot capturing the current state of understanding among the experts.

Different people mean different things when they talk about intersectionality. That which intersects can relate to identities, prohibited grounds of discrimination, human rights, human rights violations, disadvantages, inequalities, systems of oppression, and so on; and intersectionality itself is referred to variously as a theory, a framework (another spatial metaphor), a method, a practice… The reader will find all of these usages, and more, in this issue alone. 

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