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When Multiplication Doesn't Equal Quick Addition: Examining Intersectionality as a Research Paradigm

  • Ange-Marie Hancock (a1)

In the past twenty years, intersectionality has emerged as a compelling response to arguments on behalf of identity-based politics across the discipline. It has done so by drawing attention to the simultaneous and interacting effects of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and national origin as categories of difference. Intersectional arguments and research findings have had varying levels of impact in feminist theory, social movements, international human rights, public policy, and electoral behavior research within political science and across the disciplines of sociology, critical legal studies, and history. Yet consideration of intersectionality as a research paradigm has yet to gain a wide foothold in political science. This article closely reads research on race and gender across subfields of political science to present a coherent set of empirical research standards for intersectionality.Ange-Marie Hancock is Assistant Professor of Political Science & African American Studies at Yale University ( She is the author of The Politics of Disgust: The Public Identity of the “Welfare Queen.” The author thanks Christian Davenport, Gary Goertz, Errol Henderson, Gerald Jaynes, Eric Juenke, Alondra Nelson, Valerie Purdie-Vaughn, Mark Sawyer, James Scott, Evelyn Simien, Lester Spence, Dara Strolovitch, and the anonymous reviewers of Perspectives on Politics for their comments on previous versions of this paper, which substantially improved the manuscript. She is currently a visiting faculty fellow at the Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.

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