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Intersectionality and the quality of the gender equality architecture

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalSocial Politics
Journal number4
Volume19
Number of pages36
Pages446-481
Early online date31/10/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The restructuring of the equality architecture in Britain is analyzed for its implications for the theory and practice of intersectionality. Going beyond McCall and Hancock, different approaches to the intersection of multiple inequalities are identified and investigated for their utility in the theory and practice of equality in the context of multiple intersecting equalities. In particular, the preference for “mutual constitution” rather than “mutual shaping” is interrogated. Several definitions of and several criteria of quality of the equality architecture are identified, drawing on a discussion of the literature. It is found that while restructuring of the British equality architecture increased its quality in some aspects, by widening its coverage of multiple inequalities and policy domains, in other aspects it reduced it, notably in its resources. The findings vary according to the definition of the equality architecture deployed. Conclusions for the theory and practice of intersectionality are drawn. The prioritization of “mutual constitution” in theory and practice is found to be flawed; “mutual shaping” is offered as a more successful approach.