Feminism and the political economy of representation : intersectionality, invisibility and embodiment

Anna Carastathis
Panteion University
It has become commonplace within feminist theory to claim that women's lives are constructed by multiple, intersecting systems of oppression. In this thesis, l challenge the consensus that oppression is aptly captured by the theoretical model of "intersectionality." While intersectionality originates in Black feminist thought as a purposive intervention into US antidiscrimination law, it has been detached from that context and harnessed to different representational aims. For instance, it is often asserted that intersectionality enables a representational politics that overcomes legacies of exclusion within hegemonic Anglo-American feminism. largue that intersectionality reinscribes the political exclusion of racialized women as a feature of their embodied identities. That is, it locates the failure of political representation in the "complex" identities of "intersectional" subjects, who are constructed as unrepresentable in terms of "race" or "gender" alone. Further, largue that intersectionality fails to supplant race- and class-privileged women as the normative subjects of feminist theory and politics. [...]
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