Although intersectionality analysis originates in a critique of legal doctrine and its confining approach to subject formation, intersectionality has been adopted widely outside of legal scholarship—nationally and internationally—to explain how fields of power operate and interact to produce hierarchy for any limitless combination of identities. Yet, within law, some scholars have raised questions precisely about the capacity of intersectionality to grapple with subjects who occupy multiple social positions and those with “partially privileged” identities in particular. Thus, over roughly a decade, a critique took shape about the theoretical capacity and normative commitment of intersectionality theory to address particular subgroups.
This essay tells part of the curious story about how a race-sexuality critique of intersectionality emerged, what may have motivated it, and how it has facilitated an emerging progressive masculinities literature that is “post-intersectional,” i.e., positioned over and against intersectionality. Like other post-intersectionality approaches, multidimensionality theorists decidedly seek to ‘get beyond’ something, and that ‘something’ that underwrites the turn away from intersectionality appears not as substantive theoretical or analytical content, or as political strategy, but rather, as identity-driven and engendered.