Together and apart: relational experiences of place, identity and belonging in the lives of mixed-ethnicity families

Publication Name

Social and Cultural Geography


Intersectionality, as an ‘analytical sensibility’, demands attentiveness to the multiple aspects of identity that interlock to shape privilege and marginality in specific spatial contexts and moments. Notwithstanding their fluidity, intersectional analyses have retained a core focus on the individualized self. This paper articulates an intercorporeal approach to intersectionality, based on interviews with adult members of mixed-ethnicity (mixed-race) families. In public space, family members are exposed to stares, questions, judgements and racisms that metamorphose depending on who they are with. Alone, with a visibly different partner, with mixed-ethnicity children, or as a family unit, the strands of each family member’s multiple identities intersect with those of their loved ones. Each is interpellated–or feels interpellated–differently, in physical proximity to the other. Our empirical analysis sheds new light on the everyday lives of mixed-ethnicity families. Our theoretical pairing of intercorporeality and intersectionality presents an innovative extension to dominant interpretations of the latter. It highlights the analytical utility of adding an extra-individual lens to the intersectionality toolkit. While visibly different mixed-ethnicity families afford a potent example, our approach has broader resonance. An intercorporeal approach to intersectionality offers nuanced perspectives on place, identity and belonging. It is necessary because privilege and marginality are always lived, relationally.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Government



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