This article seeks to draw links between intersectionality and queer studies as epistemological strands by examining their common methodological tasks and by tracing some similar difficulties of translating theory into research methods. Intersectionality is the systematic study of the ways in which differences such as race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and other sociopolitical and cultural identities interrelate. Queer theory, when applied as a distinct methodological approach to the study of gender and sexuality, has sought to denaturalise categories of analysis and make normativity visible. By examining existing research projects framed as ‘queer’ alongside ones that use intersectionality, I consider the importance of positionality in research accounts. I revisit Judith Halberstam’s (1998) ‘Female Masculinity’ and Gloria Anzaldua’s (1987) ‘Borderlands’ and discuss the tension between the act of naming and the critical strategical adoption of categorical thinking. Finally, I suggest hybridity as one possible complementary methodological approach to those of intersectionality and queer studies. Hybridity can facilitate an understanding of shifting textual and material borders and can operate as a creative and political mode of destabilising not only complex social locations, but also research frameworks.

Author Biography

Aristea Fotopoulou completed her PhD in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex in January 2012. She is primarily interested in exploring the ways in which media and cultural studies cross with feminist science and technology studies and queer theory. Her earliest work explored blogs of disabled women, as well as methodological issues in queer studies and intersectionality. What she found particularly interesting was how to give an account that is both dynamic and political, of the new forms of feminist and queer politics emerging in networked media environments in contemporary UK. Thus in her doctoral research ‘Remediating politics: feminist and queer formations in digital networks’, she developed a methodological and theoretical framework that addresses political aspects of digital media technologies and technological dimensions of women’s politics. Her work seeks to contribute to discussions around mediation and representation through an analysis of substantial ethnographic data, from both online and offline settings, and at their intersections.