International Journal for the Study of New Religions, Vol 7, No 1 (2016)

Removing MOVE: A Case Study of Intersectional Invisibility within Religious and Legal Studies

Anthony T. Fiscella
Issued Date: 5 Jul 2016


How is it that a group that self-identifies as “religious” and is associated with one of the most dramatic events in the United States during the 1980s could receive almost no attention from religious studies scholars? Furthermore, how is it that the court case in which said group was determined to not qualify as a “religion” has been discussed and challenged by legal scholars while being virtually ignored by religious scholars? This article documents and examines the treatment of The MOVE Organization within both religious and legal studies. Drawing on intersectionality theory, it is posited that the social locations of many MOVE members including racial status, commitment to the defense of animals, legal religious status, and incarceration status combine together and contribute strongly to the marginalization of them and their voices from the scope and concerns of dominant scholarship. If colorblind racism is one factor in sustaining racial domination, then exposure of the complexity of intersectional dynamics might help untangle, in the words of Patricia Hill Collins, a “matrix of domination.”

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsnr.v7i1.20308


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