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A model for intersectionality

Earlier this year, our learning journey on the MSc Organisational Psychology at Birkbeck took us to explore intersectionality, which I find fascinating and fundamental in any attempt to understand individual identity. A research paper in particular (Liu, 2018) was a great reminder of the origins of intersectionality, with roots in the specific challenges of African American women, facing discrimination both from a gender and race perspective. More broadly, it also reinforces the backdrop of oppression sitting behind the idea of intersectionality.

It inspired me to try and draw a model which can help position everyone from a standpoint of marginalisation / oppression, or privilege in terms of various characteristics, all of it in the context of a particular culture, or organisation, influencing the nature of these sliding scales. To the main characteristics I lifted from this paper, I also added other relating to disability and neurodiversity, and an acknowledgement that there are many more to consider.

Of course any diagram attempting to sum up a complex phenomenon such as this one runs a risk of being reductive, yet may still help its overall appreciation.


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