Theory, Research, & Praxis
Chapter Twelve: Identity Constellations: An Intersectional Analysis of Female Student Veterans
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An Intersectional Analysis of Female Student Veterans
SUSAN V. IVERSON
Researchers are increasingly aware of the limitations of identity dimensions as singular analytic categories (Berger & Guidroz, 2009; Montoya, 1998; Reynolds & Pope, 1991). Many feminist researchers, by example, have critiqued the use of gender as a sole identity category for analysis, and scholars have sought a framework to describe and understand the interaction of different forms of oppression and disadvantage, including race, sexuality, and gender (Baca Zinn, Hondagneu-Sotolo, & Messner, 2000; Collins, 1998; Fine, 1994; McCall, 2005). While many scholars have grappled with conceptualizations to describe the complexity of interrelated forces acting on dimensions of identity (e.g., Andersen, 2005; Baca Zinn et al., 2000; Ken, 2008), Crenshaw’s (1991) analogy of traffic through an intersection has become a dominant conceptualization of how individuals’ experiences are “frequently the product of intersecting patterns of racism and sexism” (p. 1243), along with other oppressions. Yet, some (e.g., Baca Zinn et al., 2000; Ken, 2007, 2008), with whom I align, argue that the intersection is a limited conceptual image and instead theorize alternatives. This chapter advances the metaphor of a constellation to the intersectionality literature. More than a theoretical manuscript, this chapter illustrates this conceptualization with findings from a qualitative study of female student veterans (Iverson, Seher, DiRamio, Jarvis, & Anderson, 2013).
Intersectionality originally emerged to destabilize categories of identity, for example, exposing how the category of “women” excludes “others” within that...
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