Intersectionality across the Resistance

Today, Science Advances published my paper about the intersectionality of participants at the Women’s March (co-authored with Dawn Dow, Rashawn Ray).  By intersectionality we mean how individual identities and interests overlap. The paper shows that the Women’s March mobilized a crowd with intersectional interests that cross racial, class, gender, and sexual identities.  Individuals were more likely to be motivated by issues connected to the social identities that were most salient for them: Black participants mobilized for Racial Justice, Hispanic participants mobilized for Immigration, and women mobilized for Reproductive Rights. However, we also find participants reported being motivated by reasons that extended beyond their individual social identities.

In this post, I look at the role that intersectionality plays across the American Resistance. Here, I present results of analyses of data collected from three of the largest protests in DC since the Inauguration:  the Women’s March, the March for Science, and the People’s Climate March. Participants continue to act based on intersectional motivations, but the pattern is less clear and consistent when we look across these different protest-events.

This diagram maps out the connections among motivations at these events. Nodes represent each of the fourteen different motivations identified by participants at the Women’s March.  Arrows show which motivations were statistically significantly connected.  Blue lines indicate a positive association across the motivations and red lines indicate a negative association.  The standalone nodes (the black dots) represent cases where the motivations are not connected.

Although there are clear coalitions in each event, they vary substantially by event and few of these bonds are durable ACROSS the different protests. For example, people who were motivated by Racial Justice to participate in the Women’s March were also motivated by Immigration, Politics, Religion, and Women’s Rights. However, people who were motivated by Racial Justice to participate in the March for Science reported being motivated by LGBTQ issues and Politic Brutality; and people who were motivated by Racial Justice to participate in the People’s Climate March reported being motivated by Equality, Police Brutality, Religion and Social Welfare.  In other words, the American Resistance involves coalitions across existing social movements on the Left, but these coalitions do not seem to be particularly durable, at least not so far.


*   Source:  Fisher and Jasny, In Progress, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 12 August 2017.  These models control for number of protests, gender, race, and age and are slightly different from the analysis in our Science Advances paper so that the data can be compared across the protest events (feel free to contact me for a more detailed methodological note).  Because the environment was a motivation for over 90% of the people at the March for Science and the People’s Climate March, the models do not converge across the various motivations that might be associated with it.