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Matrix of Domination

Marjorie L. DeVault

Subject Sociology » Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Key-Topics power

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The term matrix of domination is associated with the feminist thought of Patricia Hill Collins, who came to prominence in the academic movement that arose from women's activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Her project locates lived experiences of oppression within the social contexts that produce those experiences. Collins's term refers to the particular configurations of oppression and resistance (along varied lines of socially constructed difference) that shape life in specific communities and historical moments. Collins indicates that her scholarship grew out of resistance to her experiences as a young African American student and then teacher, when she confronted a racist curriculum and schools that seemed to have no room for young people like her. Drawing from diverse texts produced by black women, she brought forward a body of subjugated knowledge in an influential article, “Learning from the Outsider Within” (1986), and then a book titled Black Feminist Thought (1991; revd. 2000). She emphasized the distinctiveness of black feminist thought in relation to undifferentiated feminist and race-based analyses, and she became a leader in the academic movement that began to challenge unitary gender or race analyses that did not account for the cross-cutting dynamics of these systems of oppression. Collins argued that these structures of inequality intersect, in any specific historical ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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