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Enhancing intersectional analyses with polyvocality: Making and illustrating the model
V. Thimm, , S.J. Mahler
Published in MDPI AG
Volume: 6
Issue: 2
Since the inception of the intersectionality framework by feminists over three decades ago, scholars have advanced the analysis and subsequent understanding of peoples' social locations, identity constructions, and systems of oppression involving gender, ethnicity, religion, class, and caste, to name a few. Considering these axes of differentiation as mutually constitutive rather than only as individual factors has been the single most important innovation. However, intersectionality has yet to reach its potential theoretically, methodologically, and practically. For instance, the framework is rarely applied to social phenomena that extend beyond the confines of a given nation-state. In previous publications, we have addressed this shortcoming by arguing for applying intersectionality across multiple social scales (intimate, regional, national, and transnational). We have shown how any given person's intersectionality can and often does shift according to the scale of analysis. In this article, we address another important way to strengthen intersectionality-bringing in polyvocality. That is, and drawing upon arguments originally made in postmodern critiques of "writing culture", publications tend to reflect partial and/or limited perspectives, typically those reflecting researchers' privileged, authoritative accounts. In this article, in contrast, we include different insider (ego) and outsider (ego's relatives' and the researchers') perspectives. The article includes the theoretical and methodological argument for adding polyvocality to intersectionality and then applies the proposed model to an ethnographic case. We illustrate how intersectional constellations shift from voiced interpretation to voiced interpretation and, in so doing, deepen, expand, and problematize these same analyses. © 2016 by the author.
About the journal
JournalSocial Sciences
PublisherMDPI AG