Notes on the lives of intersectionality within institutions


  • Gerardo Contreras Independent Researcher, Mexico
  • María Isabel Arellano Independent Researcher, Mexico



Intersectionality has become a buzzword in universities, government agencies and civil society organizations in Latin America since 2010.  It has been a concept, an analytical tool and a label of feminist identity. To understand how this institutionalization happens, we move away from simplistic (of hard assimilation) and incrementalist (of small victories) positions to reflect from neoinstitutional feminism the multiple possibilities in how power is resisted or not. Returning to the work of Fiona Mackay and Davina Cooper, we argue that intersectionality will be contingent on the legacies and acts of forgetting, remembering, and borrowing from institutions, while also aiming to be a performance that enables change despite its existing conditions. That is to say, it is not a linear or determined path, but a process of black-or-white that depends on the history and actions of the actors it mobilizes. In this sense, we propose that intersectionality is a life, or rather lives, in itself, one that is nurtured by efforts and care, but is constantly at risk from the violence and traps of institutions.

Keywords: intersectionality, institutionalization, neoinstitutionalism, proximity.