Ranking search results, filtering spam e-mails, recommending movies and books, evaluating credit card fraud, diagnosing malignant cells in cancer research, selecting job applicants – more and more tasks are being carried out by new media technologies such as machine learning algorithms. Their logic does not only simplify our daily approach to large masses of information but also applies at a higher level in the observation and regulation of population flows.
The continued interest in intersectionality can be seen as a positive sign that feminist-inspired scholarship still has something significant to offer, and that its political dimension lives on. In management and organization studies, Intersectionality has been seized either as a theoretical lens or methodological approach in a number of literature strands, in both conceptual and empirical work. Yet, it would be too hasty to conclude that intersectionality is the answer to all ills, or the panacea that can replace the use of the ‘f-word’ altogether.
The concept of intersectionality – as it arose from black feminist critique – emphasizes that discrimination on multiple axes (e.g. race and sex) can be synergistic: an individual does not merely experience the additive aspects of discriminations (e.g. racism plus sexism) but can feel a larger weight as these systems of power operate in various contexts (Crenshaw, 1989). Intersectionality arose from critiques of patriarchy in African-American movements and of white supremacy in feminist movements.
Attend me, hold me in your muscular flowering arms, protect me from throwing any part of myself away.
Audre Lorde (1986/2009: 132)
‘Health and ancestry start here’: Race and prosumption in direct-to-consumer genetic testing services
But standing on the shores of what is known as the ‘Slave River’ near the Cape Coast of Ghana, where men and women were once bathed before they were sold into slavery, Mike felt a sense of peace instead of horror. ‘We had a ritual’, he said’ (Mike, 23andMe consumer).