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Gender: An Intersectionality Perspective


Intersectionality, the mutually constitutive relations among social identities, is a central tenet of feminist thinking and has transformed how gender is conceptualized in research. In this special issue, we focus on the intersectionality perspective in empirical research on gender. Our goal is to offer a “best practices” resource that provides models for when and how intersectionality can inform theory and be incorporated into empirical research on psychological questions at individual, interpersonal, and social structural levels. I briefly summarize the development of the intersectionality perspective, and then review how the realization of its promise has been diverted by preoccupation with intersectionality as a methodological challenge. I conclude with a discussion of why intersectionality is an urgent issue for researchers invested in promoting positive social change.

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Special thanks to Sex Roles editor, Irene Frieze, for her enthusiasm and support for this special issue. I thank Matthew Zawadzki and Leah Warner for their insightful comments on a draft of this introduction.

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Correspondence to Stephanie A. Shields.

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Shields, S.A. Gender: An Intersectionality Perspective. Sex Roles 59, 301–311 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9501-8

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  • Feminist psychology
  • Social identity
  • Intersectionality theory
  • Hybridity
  • Feminist theory