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Causally Interpreting Intersectionality Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


Social scientists report difficulties in drawing out testable predictions from the literature on intersectionality theory. We alleviate that difficulty by showing that some characteristic claims of the intersectionality literature can be interpreted causally. The formalism of graphical causal modeling allows claims about the causal effects of occupying intersecting identity categories to be clearly represented and submitted to empirical testing. After outlining this causal interpretation of intersectional theory, we address some concerns that have been expressed in the literature claiming that membership in demographic categories can have causal effects.

Research Article
Copyright © 2016 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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The authors would like to thank Clark Glymour, Mazviita Chirimuuta, Tommy J. Curry, David Danks, Danielle Wenner, Jim Woodward, and participants at the University of California, Irvine Hypatia Conference in 2014, as well as anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.


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