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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Ashlee Christoffersen

Ashlee Christoffersen
Ashlee Christoffersen
Social Policy School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Intersectionality, Equality policy, Race/ethnicity, gender, Sexuality, Practice, Third sector, feminism, reflexivity

PhD Title

The politics of intersectional practice

Research interests

My PhD draws on my practitioner background to explore how equality third sector organisations, which have been predominantly focused around single issues/identities, are conceptualising and operationalising the politically transformative frame of ‘intersectionality’: the understanding that structures of inequality are mutually constituting and thus cannot be addressed separately. It responds to gaps in research on intersectionality’s operationalisation in practice in the UK, and uniquely explores how policy makers and practitioners themselves understand intersectionality. My fieldwork was conducted with three networks of equality organisations (racial justice, feminist, disability rights, LGBTI rights, refugee organisations, etc.) in cities in England and Scotland, through case studies employing interviews, focus groups, observation/participant observation and documentary analysis. I explore and compare the development and use of intersectionality: what it means, how these meanings are used in practice, and how this relates to equality policy; and theorise approaches to operationalisation of intersectionality based on results, with reference to intersectionality theory and research.

I develop a typology of five competing concepts of intersectionality circulating in UK third sector equality organising, each with different implications for intersectionally marginalised groups and intersectional justice. I argue that in the current context, operationalising intersectionality is fundamentally about i. representation and ii. coalition and solidarity, and conflicts around each are driven by these competing concepts of intersectionality; in other words, competing concepts are at the heart of conflicts around who does intersectionality, and how.  


Professor Richard Freeman (Social policy) 

Professor Nasar Meer (Sociology)

Professor Akwugo Emejulu (Sociology, University of Warwick) 


Jo Campling Memorial Prize 2018

ESRC Doctoral studentship 2016-19

Professional background  

I have held research and practitioner roles at: Equality Challenge Unit; centred; Trades Union Congress; Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, Health Research and Methods Training Facility (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada). 


2019 Graduate Visiting Research Studentship, Department of Political Science, University of Victoria, Canada 

2007 MA Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK

2006 BA Political Science and Women's Studies, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Journal articles

Christoffersen, A (forthcoming) Barriers to operationalising intersectionality in third sector community development practice: Power, austerity and in/equality. Community Development Journal Special issue Intersecting inequalities and prospects for Community Development. 

Christoffersen, A (2019) Researching Intersectionality: Ethical Issues, Ethics and Social Welfare, DOI: 10.1080/17496535.2018.1541230 Jo Campling Essay Prize, Postgraduate Winner, 2018

Hankivsky, O, de Merich, D, Christoffersen, A (2019) Equalities ‘Devolved’: Experiences in Mainstreaming across the UK devolved powers post-Equality Act 2010. British Politics, special issue role of gender in British politics.

Hankivsky, O and Christoffersen, A (2011) Gender mainstreaming in the United Kingdom: Current issues and future challenges British Politics 6, 1: 30-51.

Hankivsky, O and Christoffersen, A (2008) Intersectionality and the determinants of health: a Canadian perspective Critical Public Health 18, 3: 271-283.

Book chapters

Christoffersen, A (2019) Are we all `baskets of characteristics?' Intersectional slippages and the displacement of race in English and Scottish equality policy. In 

Christoffersen, A (2017) Intersectionality. In Freeman, R., McHardy, F., and Murphy D. (Eds.), Working for Equality:
Policy, politics, people. Glasgow: CCWB Press, p.25-8. 

Book reviews

Christoffersen, A. (2019), Inequalities in the UK: New discourses, evolutions and actions Edited by David Fée and Anémone Kober‐Smith Bingley: Emerald Publishing. ISBN: 9781787144804; £66.99 (Hbk.). Soc Policy Admin. doi:10.1111/spol.12544

Other publications 

(2018) Data protection and anonymity considerations for equality research and data. London: Advance HE. 

(2018) Research Insight: Migrant female academics in higher education. London: Advance HE. 

(2018) Intersectional approaches to equality and diversity in higher education. London: Equality Challenge Unit.

(2017) Intersectional approaches to equality research and data. London: Equality Challenge Unit.

(2016) Equality in colleges in Scotland: statistical report 2016. London: Equality Challenge Unit.

(2015) GENDER-NET analysis report: award schemes, gender equality and structural change. London: Equality Challenge Unit.

(2015) Equality in colleges in Scotland: statistical report 2015. London: Equality Challenge Unit.

(with Behrens, A) (2014) Intersectionality literature review. London: centred. Also appears in HEAR Network (2014) Intersections Research Project. London: London Voluntary Service Council.

(2014) The London lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer voluntary and community sector Almanac 3rd Edition. London: centred.

(Ed.) (2012) The London lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voluntary and community sector Almanac 2nd Edition. London: Kairos in Soho.

(with Standing, J) (2011) LGBT sector Supplement 1 The Equality Act 2010: What difference does it make? London: Race on the Agenda. 

(2011) The London lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voluntary and community sector Almanac 1st Edition. London: Kairos in Soho.

Conference papers and presentations 

(2019) 'Representation: The politics of intersectionality in practice', European Conference on Politics and Gender, University of Amsterdam, 6 July. 

(2018) 'Intersectional practice and the politics of representation: Displacing ‘race’ in the name of intersectionality', OLIRN conference: Exploring Legacies of Injustice and Inequality; Enabling Just and Equal Futures, University of Edinburgh, 3 December. 

(2018) 'Solidarity, coalition and intersectional practice: a case study', paper delivered at At the intersections: A one-day conference on intersectionality, University of Birmingham, 27 April. 

(2018) 'Solidarity, coalition and intersectional practice: a case study', paper delivered at British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Identity, Community and Social Solidarity, Northumbria University, 11 April. 

(2017) 'Are we all ‘baskets of characteristics?’ Intersectional slippages in English and Scottish equality policy', paper delivered at Social Policy Association Annual Conference, Social Inequalities: Research, Theory and Policy, Durham University, 12 July. 

(2017) 'Now you see it, now you don’t: Race and intersectionality in Scottish equality policy', paper delivered at British Sociological Association Regional Postgraduate Event, Contemporary Racisms in Scotland and England: Interrogating, Comparing, and Learning from Brexit and its Aftermath, University of Glasgow, 23 June. 

(2016) ‘Inequalities and intersectionality’, paper delivered at Reference Group on In/Equalities, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh, 21 April.

(2014) (with Annette Behrens) ‘Intersectionality’, paper delivered at HEAR network Intersections research launch, London, 25 June.

(2012) (with Jane Standing) ‘Intersectionality and voluntary and community sector infrastructure: The (re)production of hierarchies’, paper delivered at Queer sexualities, nationalism and racism in the new Europe, London South Bank University, 19 October.

(2012) ‘An intersectional approach to LGBT organising and issues of LGBT heritage’, paper delivered at Equalities challenges in London: Identifying the opportunities to take a pan-equalities and human rights approach, London, 9 October.

(2011) (with Ania Ostrowska) 'Sex Work and Anti-Porn Feminism', paper delivered at Pornified? Complicating debates about the 'sexualisation of culture': An international conference, Institute of Education, London, 2 December.

(2011) ‘Experience and Interventions of London LGBT Voluntary and Community Organisations: Summary of Research Findings’, paper delivered at International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia conference, University of Nottingham, 17 May.

(2010) ‘Reading Latin American women activists: Feminist divergences, (post)Marxism, national identity, and solidarity’, paper delivered at Women’s Liberation Movement at 40, Ruskin College, Oxford, 13 March.

Hankivsky, O and Christoffersen, A (2009) ‘Gender Mainstreaming in the UK: Current Issues and Future Challenges’, paper delivered at First European Conference on Politics and Gender, Queen’s University Belfast, 21-23 January.

Kamal, S and Christoffersen, A (2006) ‘Copyright law and poverty research: Handcuffing community based knowledge translation’, paper delivered at Technology and citizenship symposium: International conference on technology, knowledge and society, McGill University, Montreal, 9-10 June.  



'Education and intersectional inequalities' Education Policy (postgraduate) & Educational Politics and Policy (honours) (2019/20)

'Health inequalities: Life course and intersectional perspectives' Social Inequality and the Life Course (honours) (2018/19)


Understanding gender in the contemporary world (undergrad, 2018/19 and 2019/20)

The politics of the welfare state (undergrad, 2018/19 and 2019/20)

Analysing qualitative data (postgrad, 2017/18)


2018/19 Development work on increasing teaching on race and ethnicity at the University 

2018-(ongoing) Equality research consultant 

Knowledge exchange 

Lead organiser, Equality and intersectionality conference (2019) (with Leah McCabe, Cat Wayland and the Equality Network) 


Research Fellow, Center for Intersectional Justice

International Research Affiliate, Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, Simon Fraser University