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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

250 - Operationalizing Intersectionality in Counseling: Paradigmatic Research Insights

Apr 28, 2018 7:30am ‐ Apr 28, 2018 8:30am


The intersectionality paradigm has emerged as a framework to meet a paradigm shift in multiculturalism and social justice that contests unilateral perspectives of social identity. There are methodological challenges in both quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research design, which range from negotiating research questions to philosophical approaches.  With participants, the presenters will co-construct applications that underlie intersectionality to implement across research design in counseling.

Intersectionality theory has significantly emerged across multiple disciplines of scholarship to bolster the intellectual promise and an agenda focused on diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice (Bowleg, 2012; Collins & Bilge, 2016; Cho, 2013; Cho et al., 2013; Warner et al., 2016). Although the work of Collins (1986, 1990, 2004) and Crenshaw (1988, 1989, 1991) were central to contributions on intersectionality, they often cite the work of predecessors illustrating personal narratives as women of color (Anzaldua, 1987; hooks, 1981, 1984,1989; Lorde, 1984; Moraga & Anzaldua, 1983). Since its inception, intersectionality has immensely evolved to engage applied and theoretical disciplines, including counseling and counselor education. Intersectionality operates on multiple foci: (a) social identity categories as intersecting instead of additive and parallel; (b) simultaneous experiences of privilege and oppression; (c) antiessentialism to excavate diversity between and within identities; (d) hegemonic power systems reproducing oppression; and (e) social justice agendas to counter social inequities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Provide an overview of conceptual and empirical literature that addresses intersectionality with research methods.
  • Offer a conceptual framework for research training that fosters critical thinking about social and cultural identities.
  • Foster collaborative new ideas for pedagogical tools to involve intersectionality in development of research design.


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