Beyond the Trinity of Gender, Race and Class
Exploring Intersectionality in Adult Learning
Keywords:feminism, inequity, intersectionality, social justice, solidarity
Research exploring the gendered dimensions of adult learning has blossomed in the past two decades. Despite this trend, intersectional approaches in adult learning, research, and teaching remain limited primarily to the three categories of gender, race, and class. Intersectionality theory is more diverse than this and includes discussions of social structures, geographies, and histories that serve to build richer, more nuanced descriptions of how privilege and oppression are experienced. Because the purpose of intersectionality is to understand how social identities are constructed and to challenge the structures of power that oppress particular social groups, this approach is important for feminist and social justice educators. The Canadian authors of this manuscript posit that adult learning should move beyond intersectionality that focuses only on the trinity of gender + race + class in order to consider the nuances of inequality and the true complexities of representation and collective identities. By exploring literature in feminism, adult education, and intersectionality, they illustrate a gap at the core of adult education for social justice. Finally, they use two examples to illustrate how intersectionality works in practice.
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