The Difference That Power Makes: Intersectionality and Participatory Democracy


Collins, P.H. (2017). “The Difference That Power Makes: Intersectionality and Participatory Democracy”. In Investigaciones Feministas, 8 (1), 19-39. Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Retrieved March 14, 2019 from

Work data:

ISSN: 2171-6080

Type of work: Journal


Gender | Participation


This essay explores how developing more complex analyses of power and politics sheds light on important themes for both intersectionality and participatory democracy. First of all, drawn from intersectional inquiry, the article outlines three focal points of a power analytic: how analyses of intersecting, structural oppressions underpin systems of domination; how a domains-of-power framework provides a set of conceptual tools for analyzing and responding to intersecting power relations; and how a more robust analysis of the collective illuminates the political action of subordinated groups. From this power analytic, the essay examines power and politics from the standpoint of the resistance traditions of historically subordinated groups, especially African American women´s political action. Finally, the article discusses implications of intersectionality’s power analytic for projects for intersectionality and participatory democracy. Related to this, intersectionality conceptualization from Black feminism in flexible, pragmatic terms constitutes an important site for seeing the deepening commitment to participatory democracy as an alternative to technical agendas of the state.