By J K Galbraith
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An enormous amount of work in the humanities has attempted to track, trace, define, demarcate, and even just describe what identity is. Even Sartre is ultimately concerned with the project of identity formation. Such a focus is important because identity is believed to motivate us, to reflect what is important to us, to represent how we see ourselves and how the world sees us, or, in short, to be us. Humanities scholars are joined by many others in this quest to pin down identity. A special issue of the psychology journal Sex Roles, for instance, published in September 2008, is titled “Intersectionality of Social Identities” and provides this definition in the description of its contents: “Intersectionality, the mutually constitutive relations among social identities, is a central tenet of feminist thinking” (emphasis mine).
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race. By focusing our understanding of race, class, and gender on series, what becomes clear is that our attention should be drawn not to categories of people (such as whites or blacks), as though such categories demarcate meaningful differences among human beings, but to categories of conditions that affect series of people. It is the conditions that are racialized, gendered, and class-infused (which is to say, structured).
Metaphor and the Organization of Social Life 13 produced, what people and institutions do with it once it exists, why we consume it, and how it then comes to shape us and our social world. Only by examining very context-specific relationships, like these and hopefully using framework like this to establish some of the major relationships in ways that future work can build on, will our studies of race, class, and gender flourish. The larger theoretical framework on which this work relies has been generated and honed by race-class-gender scholars for more than three decades.