Intersectionality: Strengths & Weaknesses

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Intersectionality: Strengths & Weaknesses

This essay will explore the concept of intersectionality, its strengths, and weaknesses. It will discuss how intersectionality provides a framework for understanding how different aspects of social identity, such as race, gender, and class, intersect and contribute to unique experiences of oppression or privilege. The piece will also address criticisms of intersectionality, including its complexity and potential for divisiveness. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Gender.

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Within Essay one, after reading the text provided I determined that the essay portrays intersectionality. Intersectionality is the theory and study of various social identities such as race, gender, sexuality, and class, contributing to the specific type of systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by an individual (“Intersectionality).

In the third paragraph the quote “This focus on the most privileged group members marginalizes those who are multiply-burdened and obscures claims that cannot be understood as resulting from discrete sources of discrimination” supports the essay one being portaried as intersectionality.

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The quote focuses on ending discrimination and making sure all individuals even those outside of privileged groups are understood. We experience our lives, not just by our social class but as well as our gender, our race and education (Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein).

Strengths & Weaknesses:

The primary strength of intersectionality is the acknowledgement that there’s more to our life experience than just our social class. Intersectionality recognizes that identity markers such as race and gender should not exist and tends to lead to oppression (Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein). Nowadays the theory of intersectionality and it’s acknowledgement has given power to people to speak out over difficult issues and is seen as crucial to those fighting for equality. Intersectionality has taught today’s society to recognize the difference, avoid simplified language, and to seek others viewpoints.

When it comes to intersectionality weaknesses there are very few that oppose a problem within today’s society. The only problem would be individuality within society and everyone being entitled to their own opinion. Intersectionality is the primary framework for conceptualizing a person, group of people, or social problem as affected by a number of discriminations and disadvantages and is depicted in the first essay.

After reading the second essay, it was easy to determine that the essay portrays the sociological perspective of conflict theory. Conflict theory studies the inequalities of wealth and power. ( ) Conflict theory primielary sees everyday life as a type of competition, believing that rules are applied unequally and that punishments vary for rule violators. For those who are at the top of the social pyramid are subjected to different rules and treatment compared to those who are at the lower end of the social pyramid.

In the second paragraph, the quote “ The worker becomes an even cheaper commodity the more goods he creates” supports the idea that this essay portrays the idea of conflict theory. After reading this quote, it shows that no matter how hard one works, they will still struggle to support themselves. Unfortunately for the working class, the ruling class is able to make laws that target them, making it harder to escape the daily struggles and criminal behavior. Throughout the evolution of conflict theory has come many strengths and weakness.

The primary strength of conflict theory is that recognizing and promoting groups to find common grounds, form alliances, define values and develop strategies for achieving change. The understanding of these functions of conflict theory, is essential in promoting positive social change. (Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein) Conflict theory also promotes the creation of jobs. Without power people guiding us, there no organizations or jobs available for the working class, thus creating a benefit for all.

The primary weakness of conflict theory is rationalizing people who seek to maximize status at the expense of others. The primary focus on economic growth and relationships forces the creation of rigid systems for social stratification. (“Three Major Perspectives in Sociology. ) Providing the working classes with little to no advantages while the wealthy lived a luxurious life. Due to this, the classes would remain divided and inequality continues to grow.

This rationalization and creation of systems is seen as a weakness of functionalism given that it fails and lacks the understanding of exploited social groups and the inequality within society. Wealth and power was more important than the wellbeing of the community members. Conflict theory is the sociological perspective that everyday life is a type of competition, believes that rules are applied unequally and that punishments vary for rule violators, and can easily be seen in the second essay.

While conflict theory focus on inequality, Essay #3 portrays symbolic interactionism. Symbolic interactionism tends to observe things by paying full attention to the micro level of sociology. Instead of focusing on broader aspects, symbolic interaction looks at things depending upon the individual and their interactions in society (Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein). Through the use of symbolic interaction comes the ability to assign meaning to people and things.

Towards the end of the essay comes the quote “It is also highly important for us to realize that we do not as a matter of fact lead our lives, make our decisions, and reach our goals in everyday life either statistically or scientifically. We live by inference”. This quote supports the idea that the essay portrays symbolic interaction. The quote suggests that our lives our shaped by our everyday interactions and our live experiences. Symbolic interaction has various strengths and weaknesses as a sociological perspective.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The primary strength of symbolic interaction is the acknowledgement of everyone’s individuality. The acknowledgement in individuality becomes powerful in helping others understand their peers around them. (“Three Major Perspectives in Sociology. ) Married couples, siblings, high schoolers, employers can all utilized the principles of symbolic interaction. One major acknowledgement of symbolic interaction is the understanding that people are neither right nor wrong, instead they are their own point of view and process ideas and experiences differently. By attempting to understand another person’s individuality and meanings can lead to finding a common ground in which both parties agree.

The primary weakness of symbolic interaction is the lacking the macro level of social interpretation, otherwise known as the “big picture.” Due to its focus on individuals, symbolic interaction potentially could miss the larger issues of society. Symbolic interaction tends to focus on the “trees” within a forest rather than the “forest”. ( “Three Major Perspectives in Sociology.) Due to the lack of the macro approach, the idea of trying to understand and accept everyone can often lead to faulty communication due to from differences in the perception of others. The lacking of having a big picture could be seen as a weakness for symbolic interaction and could lead to many conflicts within a society. Symbolic interactionism focus more on the smaller picture compared to the big picture and is clearly expressed in the third essay.

After reading the fourth essay, it was determined that the essay portrays the sociological perspective of functionalism. Functionalism is the perspective that sees society as based on shared values into which members are socialized. Seeing society as an organism, each part performing certain functions to maintain the system as a whole. (Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein)

Towards the end of the essay, the quote “Throughout, it will be necessary to keep in mind one thing – namely, that the discussion relates to the system of positions, not the individuals occupying those positions” supports the idea that the essay portrays the idea of functionalism. The meaning behind this quote shows that if society works together, the system of positions is more likely to be noticed then compared those working individuality. Just like any other sociological perspective, Functionalism has its strengths and weaknesses.

The primary strength of the functionalist theory is that it a macro level structural theory which uses an organic analogy, using the body as a way to describe the different parts within society. (Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein) When comparing the two, there are three similarities that can be seen; System, System Needs and Functions. The System being organisms such as the human body, and society which fit together in various ways. Functionalism and it’s approach illustrates how a social institution can work at two different levels – both fulfilling the needs of each individual and meeting the needs of the whole society at the same time, as well as providing a very harmonious view of society and the family.

The primary weakness of functionalism is being a macro-scale approach and seeing society as a whole. The macro-scale approach can easily miss crucial factors and or groups that contribute to the functional aspect of society. The possibility of lack of acknowledgment of certain minority groups within society could lead to lacking crucial information and misunderstanding about how society functions and how minority groups live within a large society.

This approach could therefore be seen as a weakness of functionalism given that it fails to acknowledge that there are minority groups within society. Functionalism is the sociological theory which holds that each part of society is necessary for the functioning of the social organism and can easily be seen in the fourth essay.”

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Intersectionality: Strengths & Weaknesses. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved from