Intersectional Gender: Thinking about Gender and Cultural Difference in the Global Society

By MariaCaterina La Barbera.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper offers locatedness, contextuality, and interconnectedness as crucial concepts for the analysis of gender and cultural differences in global societies. Taking into account the different voices of feminism, and being aware of the perils of essentialization, the concept of “intersectional gender” is proposed as analytical tool. The adjective “intersectional” expresses the idea that gender is inherently constituted and simultaneously shaped by race/ethnicity, culture/religion, and economic conditions. Intersectional gender, defined not as an additive but rather as a constitutive process, underscores that any form of gender discrimination is originated and interconnected with other factors in inextricable ways. Conceptualizing gender as intersectional means that gender — as a social and contextual category — is meaningless without taking into account all the other factors constituting identity. It also implies that the significance of gender changes as it interfaces with all the other categories. The concept of intersectional gender makes possible the analysis of the inequalities suffered by women within minorities, by taking into account the structures of subordination within subordinate groups along with the inequalities of power among women according to class, race, and culture. An integrated approach is required to understand the intertwined factors of discrimination that — as a network of forces and barriers systematically interconnected — oppress, discriminate, and silence women, particularly those belonging to cultural minorities in the diaspora.

Keywords: Global Society, Gender, Cultural Difference

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.147MB).

Dr. MariaCaterina La Barbera

Researcher, Department of Studies in Politics, Law, and Society, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

MariaCaterina La Barbera is lawyer and PhD in Human Rights by the University of Palermo, Italy. Her PhD dissertation, entitled “Feminism Multicentered: Revisiting the Female Circumcision/Genital Mutilation/Surgery/Cutting Discourse”, is focused on the debate on feminism and multiculturalism and analyses, in particular, the practice of female genital mutilation. During the years of doctoral research, she studied abroad as a visiting student at the London School of Economics (2005), at the Universidad de Valencia (2006), and at the University of California-Berkeley (2007). In 2008 she stayed as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Anthropology at Berkeley under the mentorship of Professor Laura Nader. La Barbera is currently researcher at the Department of Studies in Politics, Law, and Society of the University of Palermo, Italy. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Language, Literature, and Anthropology of the Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at CSIC, Madrid (Spain). Her research interests are: equality, difference, gender and intersectionality, anti-essentialism, feminisms, legal anthropology, critical race theory, multiculturalism, ritual female genital cuttings, headscarf, and polygamy.

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