Intersectionality – a journey with the concept, a critique and new ideas


  • Ann-Dorte Christensen
  • Sune Qvotrup Jensen



Intersectionality, gender, travelling concepts, ethnic minority men, femonationalism.


During the last 30 years, intersectionality has been a concept, which has travelled 
across disciplines and national contexts. This article analyses this journey 
both in view of the authors’ understanding of intersectionality and in a 
perspective informed by literature on travelling concepts and theories. This 
 literature has pointed out that such travels are often productive and dynamic, 
but also may entail conflict. The travels of intersectionality have engendered 
conflict and debate. The article discusses core issues of the most recent debate: 
a) whether the concept concerns ethnic minority women specifically, b) 
whether in the European reception of the concept the issue of race has been 
marginalized, c) whether men can be intersectional subjects and, d) whether 
the concept primarily concerns structures or identities. The latter point seems 
to be reductionist, which is in opposition to the intersectional principle of 
carrying out multidimensional analyses of how different forms of social differentiation 
constitute each other across different levels of the social. This point 
is illustrated in the article by showing how contemporary discourses about 
gender, ethnicity and gender equality on a structural level frame the subject 
positions of ethnic minority men. This shapes these men’s experiences on the 
level of identity and everyday life.


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