Intersectionality and ameliorative analyses of race and gender
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This discussion of Sally Haslanger’s recent book, Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (Oxford 2012), investigates how her theory of race and gender handles the problem of intersectionality; that is, the problem of how to understand the ways in which one’s location in multiple socially constructed categories affects one’s lived experiences, social roles, and relative privilege or disadvantage. Haslanger defines race and gender as locations within hierarchical social structures. This high-level structural analysis allows her to find commonality without claiming that, for example, all women share social roles or psychological characteristics. However, race-based oppression seems sometimes to cancel out gender-based privilege; thus raising the question of how, on Haslanger’s model, we are to understand race and gender working together.