Theory, Research, & Praxis
Chapter One: Intersectionality, Identity, and Systems of Power and Inequality
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CHARMAINE L. WIJEYESINGHE AND SUSAN R. JONES
The concept of identity has received attention in many facets of higher education, including teaching (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 2007; Goodman & Jackson, 2012; Jones & Wijeyesinghe 2011), research (Cross, 1991; Helms, 1990/1993; Torres, Jones, & Renn, 2009) and student affairs practice (Jones & Abes, 2013; Renn, 2004). Knefelkamp, Widick, and Parker (1978) noted that the developmental orientation of the college student personnel field, in particular, emphasized “the importance of responding to the whole person, attending to individual differences, and working with the student at his or her developmental level” (p. viii). Over the years, the ways in which the “whole person” has been conceptualized has shifted, with varying emphases on the parts and the whole (Torres, Jones, & Renn, 2009), and although the social world and its contexts have always been considered in identity theories, exactly what constitutes context has evolved to also include larger structures of inequality.
In this chapter, we focus on two areas increasingly linked in theory, research, and practice in higher education: models of social identity development (the parts) and the framework of intersectionality (the whole). We begin by exploring how intersectionality addresses themes often seen in the study and representations of identity. Next, we focus more specifically on the implications of applying an intersectional lens to models grounded in individual identity narratives. We conclude the chapter by identifying several issues and questions, referred to as tension points,...
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