Ambivalent Intersectionality


Townsend-Bell, Erica. 2014. “Ambivalent Intersectionality.” Politics & Gender 10 (01): 137–42. doi:10.1017/S1743923X13000603.

Author: Erica Townsend-Bell


Debates about whether states can act intersectionally have resulted in mostly negative responses (Kantola and Nousiainen 2009; Koldinská 2009; Lombardo and Verloo 2009; Skjeie and Langvasbråten 2009; Squires 2008). Notably, most of the theorizing on this concern is situated within a European context in which scholars are grappling simultaneously with the questions of whether states can act intersectionally, and what intersectionality itself means within local contexts outside of its U.S. genesis. That is, scholars are asking both whether states can be committed to acting intersectionally and whether and how the theory travels in the first place. Similar concerns are relevant to the Latin American case, where, as is true for Europe, there is some promotion of intersectional action at the level of academic theorizing, state, and civil society, alongside some ambivalence about whether and how the concept is meaningful at the local level. States like Uruguay are open to fostering a more inclusive environment because of the commitment of its own state actors, what might be termed diffuse support at the international level, and the work of local actors who see the need—and some of whom have pushed for—greater insertion. But this openness is accompanied by a lack of clarity around, and ambivalence about, intersectionality even within the context of the state, much less among the organized community. I focus here on said ambivalence and the incomplete elaboration of intersectionality within the National Women's Institute (Inmujeres), which is exemplified by distinct approaches to intersectionality within the Institution, distinct approaches to the question of difference, and a lack of civil society insertion.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Governance Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Uruguay

Year: 2014

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at