Intellectual Property or Meme?
This introductory chapter outlines the key debates and anxieties that have emerged in interdisciplinary literature over the past twenty years, as intersectionality has exploded in popularity. It identifies two intellectual projects within the intersectionality discourse: an inclusionary project designed to remedy specific instances of intersectional stigma or invisibility, and an analytical project designed to reshape how categories of difference are conceptually related to each other. But whether we contend that intersectionality is a vague “buzzword,” “intellectual property,” or a “meme,” ongoing challenges linger. Both projects are frequently but not always committed to a normative social justice outcome, generating some amount of tension with authors who claim intersectionality as an approach or paradigm. If intersectionality is conceptualized as a field of study, we can thus examine a broader set of texts that fit into the two intellectual projects earlier described.
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