intersectionality as critical social theory summary

Shaonta’ Allen. SubjectsGender and Sexuality, Sociology > Social Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Feminist Theory, “With remarkable brilliance and breadth, Patricia Hill Collins examines the theoretical dimensions of intersectionality in new ways and in dialogue with other influential social theories and resistant knowledges. “Intersectionality itself can be seen as a knowledge project of resistance, one in which critical analysis underpins its intellectual resistance” (p. 10). The discussion on CRT/Intersectionality is complex and evolving. Collins reminds us what it looks like to use ideas in service of freedom projects, demanding at every turn that we do it with integrity, rigor, and a critical attention to the high stakes nature of social justice work. But we cannot assent to a wholesale postmodern deconstruction of truth-claims, nor should we assume that ‘truth’ must always bend to our ideas of ‘social justice.’ As Christians, we believe that God has spoken truth clearly and definitively in Scripture and that these truths can be understood by all people in all cultures, regardless of their social location. Are gender, class, race, disability, sexuality, and age all socially constructed? It’s hard to overstate how central the idea epistemology is to her idea of resisting injustice. Intersectionality is a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.Examples of these aspects are gender, caste, sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, physical appearance, and height. (p. 152), Because critical social theories have a vested interest in opposing political domination, the question of freedom has been central to many resistant knowledge projects (p. 190), From these and other comments sprinkled throughout the text, I think we can tentatively propose that Collins regards a “critical social theory” as one that analyzes and critiques the existing social order with the aim of transforming society to achieve greater justice. Collins does not provide any concise or clear definition of “critical social theory” throughout the book, even though Chapter 2 is entitled “What’s Critical about Critical Social Theory?”, Collins rejects the idea that ‘critical social theory’ is equivalent to the Frankfurt School: “I [capitalize] Critical Theory to distinguish the specific discourse of the Frankfurt school as a specific school of thought. Intersectionality is a useful concept that conveys the idea that identity is connected to social groups. This understanding of intersectionality makes far broader claims, claims that attempt to establish strong connections between privilege, oppression, identity, and social existence. In contrast, I use the phrase critical social theory to refer to range [sic] of theoretical projects that self-define or might be classified as critical.” (p. 56). This understanding of intersectionality makes far broader claims, claims that attempt to establish strong connections between privilege, oppression, identity, and social existence. It arose as a challenge to the idea that in the two decades since the Civil Rights Movement and associated legislation, racial inequality had been solved and affirmative action was no longer necessary. These are just a few of the quotes expressing the same underlying idea in just the first 15 pages of the book! (p. 5), resistant knowledge traditions… aim to address the deep-seated concerns of people who are subordinated [by] racism, sexism, capitalism, colonialism, and similar systems of political domination and economic exploitation. She is one of our most important intellectual architects. First, a “defining feature of intersectionality” is “[t]he premise that race, gender, class, and other systems of power mutual construct one another now functions as a taken-for-granted truism within intersectionality” (p. 16) In other words, an analysis will be incomplete if it examines only class, or only gender, or only race without probing how these attributes interact. Critical race theory (CRT) is a school of thought meant to emphasize the effects of race on one's social standing. Intersectional Pedagogy emerges from Intersectionality, a formal theoretical framework developed by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, American civil rights advocate and leading critical race theory scholar.Intersectionality starts from the premise that people live multiple, layered identities derived from social relations, history and structures of power (AWID 2004). Here she continues to be at her very best, asking the thorny questions that those of us who are scholars and practitioners of intersectionality often avoid. What's Intersectionality? Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory explains why critical social theory matters in the real world and how intersectionality can achieve its potential as a tool for social action needed to transform the world for the better. The aim of this In Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory Patricia Hill Collins offers a set of analytical tools for those wishing to develop intersectionality's capability to theorize social inequality in ways that would facilitate social change. However, I wish Collins had engaged in more careful reflection on the basic philosophical assumptions implicit in her entire project: Can we know truth? (3) The social location of individuals and groups within intersecting power relations shapes their experiences within and perspectives on the social world. Second, many of Collins’ statements about “Western epistemologies” border on outright relativism: Theorizing about philosophical topics such as democracy, inequality, freedom, social justice and love stems from efforts to make sense of human life and experience. Collins and Bilge begin with the following working definition: “Intersectionality is a way of understanding and analyzing the complexity in the world, in people, and in human experiences.” The authors, however, are concerned with just one manifestation of human complexity. Twenty-eight years ago, Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in a paper as a way to help explain the oppression of African-American women.

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