Intersectional approaches to data: The importance of an articulation mindset for intersectional data science

Caitlin Bentley, Chisenga Muyoya, Sara Vannini, Susan Oman, Andrea Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data's increasing role in society and high profile reproduction of inequalities is in tension with traditional methods of using social data for social justice. Alongside this, ‘intersectionality’ has increased in prominence as a critical social theory and praxis to address inequalities. Yet, there is not a comprehensive review of how intersectionality is operationalized in research data practice. In this study, we examined how intersectionality researchers across a range of disciplines conduct intersectional analysis as a means of unpacking how intersectional praxis may advance an intersectional data science agenda. To explore how intersectionality researchers collect and analyze data, we conducted a critical discourse analysis approach in a review of 172 articles that stated using an intersectional approach in some way. We contemplated whether and how Collins’ three frames of relationality were evident in their approach. We found an over-reliance on the additive thinking frame in quantitative research, which poses limits on the potential for this research to address structural inequality. We suggest ways in which intersectional data science could adopt an articulation mindset to improve on this tendency.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBig Data & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2023

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