Matrix of domination
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The matrix of domination or matrix of oppression is a sociological paradigm that explains issues of oppression that deal with race, class, and gender, which, though recognized as different social classifications, are all interconnected. Other forms of classification, such as sexual orientation, religion, or age, apply to this theory as well. Patricia Hill Collins is credited with introducing the theory in her work entitled Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. As the term implies, there are many different ways one might experience domination, facing many different challenges in which one obstacle, such as race, may overlap with other sociological features. Such things as race, age, and sex, may affect an individual in extremely different ways, in such simple cases as varying geography, socioeconomic status, or simply throughout time.
Though Collins' main focus of the theory of the matrix of domination was applied to African-American women, there are many other examples that can be used to illustrate the theory.
An article found in the November 1998 issue of Social Problems details the conflict involving racial domination by identifying the complexity African-Americans face. In many cases, sociologists and laypersons alike are often limited in their approach to the problem. Michelle Byng, in "Mediating Discrimination: Oppression among African-American Muslim Women"—the 1998 article—brings to focus new approaches to understanding discrimination, but also, she writes to illustrate the many overlooked opportunities in which the discriminated are able to empower themselves in certain situations.
- Collins, Patricia Hill. (2000) Black Feminist Thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York, Routledge.
- Byng, Michelle D. (1998) Mediating Discrimination: Resisting Oppression among African-American Muslim Women. Social Problems 45(4), 473–487.