Studying intersectionality using ideological dilemmas: The case of paid domestic labour

Amy Jo Murray, Kevin Durrheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intersectionality has gained a great deal of academic purchase within the social sciences but there is still a need for further conceptual and methodological innovation and clarity. As such, this study uses paid domestic labour as a case study to apply Billig et al.'s (Ideological dilemmas: A social psychology of everyday thinking, 1988) notion of ideological dilemmas to explore the common sense that paid domestic workers draw on to position themselves as women and workers. The analysis highlights how participants use (often contradictory) themes of common sense when speaking about their place in the household through dilemmas of servitude, belonging, and intimacy. Speakers draw on gendered ideology, not as a fixed set of ideas, but rather as a mobile discursive resource that can be deployed in situ, allowing them to justify, subvert, and evaluate social positions of domestic womanhood. The study provides both a conceptual window and a robust method for studying nonessentialist intersectionality through ideological dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • gender
  • identity
  • ideological dilemmas
  • intersectionality
  • paid domestic labour
  • social positions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Studying intersectionality using ideological dilemmas: The case of paid domestic labour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this