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Scaling Intersectionality: Advancing Feminist Analysis of Transnational Families
S.J. Mahler, , V. Patil
Published in Springer New York LLC
Volume: 73
Issue: 3-4
Pages: 100 - 112
Intersectional analyses represent an enormously important advance in understanding how people identify whether as individuals, families or other social groups. However, the overwhelming majority of research taking an intersectional approach to date is hampered by limiting its analysis to the confines of any given country. Such “domestic intersectionality” does not reflect the growing transnationalization of people’s lives and family matters given that over 200 million people now live outside the nation where they were born. A key objective of this article is to make a case explicitly for broadening intersectional analyses to the transnational scale. Moreover, the article argues that feminist analysis of families is greatly enhanced when their standpoints are examined simultaneously at multiple social scales including the intimate, local, national and transnational scales. Intersections of gender, class, ethnicity, race, nation, etc. can and typically do shift as we move across scales of analysis. Thus, a family who enjoys a privileged standpoint in their homeland community can, and often does, occupy a marginalized standpoint abroad, albeit marginalization vis-à-vis the society in the country of relocation and enhanced privilege concurrently in the home community. Within the same transnational family—indeed within any family—there will be variability in individuals’ standpoints as well. This article provides a blueprint for how such multi-scalar intersectional analyses can be accomplished and then executes it for one set of transnational families—Hindu Bengalis who conduct their family life between India and South Florida. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.
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