Conference plenary: When liberation movements become one-dimensional: On critical theory and intersectionality

Arnold L. Farr, Amahlia L. Perry-Farr, Louisa N. Perry-Farr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the great obstacles to liberation and social change is the one-dimensional focus of many liberation movements. By "onedimensional," we mean the narrow reductionist approach to social change by many oppressed groups. In this article, we examine Marcuse’s notion of catalyst groups and connect that to the concept of intersectionality. We argue that critical theory must become a theory of intersectionality. While various forms of oppression have their own distinct logic of operation and specific target group, the continuation of each form of oppression is supported by other forms of oppression. One of the goals of this plenary was to help participants focus on the theme of the conference, critique and praxis, by envisioning new possibilities for theory, critique, praxis, and pedagogy in our time. To this end, we attempted to rethink Marcuse’s notion of onedimensional thinking by linking it with Rene Girard’s concept of mimetic rivalry and the black feminist concept of intersectionality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-475
Number of pages11
JournalNew Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Caucus for a New Political Science.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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