volume 19, number 2/2018: Intersectional Approach in Social Inequalities Research
Intersectional Approach in Social Inequalities Research
Alena Křížková, Hana Hašková
For over three decades, feminist schools of thought have discussed and developed an intersectional approach and its importance for science, education and practice (e.g. Collins 1990; Crenshaw 1991; Denis 2008; Lombardo, Verloo 2009; Choo, Ferree 2010; Winker, Degele 2011). The aim of this thematic issue is to open discussion on the intersectional approach within Czech feminist critique of social inequalities. This issue is the first-ever thematic issue devoted to intersectionality in the social sciences in the Czech Republic. Although tens of thematic issues on intersectionality have already been published in European and international socio-scientific journals, the intersectional approach is not sufficiently developed yet even in the global feminist thought, particularly on the methodological level and in terms of its possible practical use. The focus of this issue echoes the current developments in intersectional research and debates reflecting, in particular, the developments in the Anglo-American community of feminist scholars. It also seeks to further develop and nurture this discussion through theoretical and empirical studies focusing on the Central European context.
The underlying assumption of the intersectional approach is the notion that there is no single category (race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality or sexuality, etc.) that could explain human experience, structured by differences and the distribution of power, without reference to other categories (e.g. Collins 1993; McCall 2005; Krekula 2007; Walby 2007; Milevska 2011; Yuval-Davis 2012; Collins, Bilge 2016; Hancock 2016; Romero 2018; in the CR Kolářová 2008, among others). Patricia Hill Collins (Collins 1990: 276) speaks of a "matrix of domination" that refers to different areas of power distribution (structural, disciplinary, hegemonic and interpersonal). In her work, Kimberle Crenshaw (1991), who is considered to have coined the term intersectionality, focuses on the overlapping categories of discrimination drawing attention to the "intersectional invisibility" of some groups, particularly racialized groups of women. According to this approach, inequality systems are inseparably interconnected and (re)produced at different levels, ranging from the structure of society, through institutions, symbols, and individual practices.
The intersectional approach underscores both the importance of integrating and sharing the experience and perspectives of multiple marginalised groups and the importance of understanding different institutions as interconnected in their co-creation of complex inequalities. The intersectional approach addresses the relationship between identity, social context, power relations, the complexity of social inequalities and social justice. With reference to that, we need to work on a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of identity and a more fluid definition of gender, race, sexuality, class, and other disadvantaged categories. The intersectional approach represents a transformation in the production of knowledge and in the use of this new type of knowledge for the purposes of transforming society and achieving social justice (Thornton Dill, Zambrana 2009). In addition to the call for a comprehensive scientific study of inequalities (e.g. Bowleg 2008; Dubrow 2008; Choo, Ferree 2010; Winker, Degele 2011; Anthias 2012; in the CR e.g. Hašková, Křížková, Pospíšilová 2018), the intersectional approach embraces a challenge to link the production of knowledge with public policy in order to achieve social justice (see for example Milevska 2011; Collins 2012; Carbado, Crenshaw, Mays, Tomlinson 2013; Romero 2018).
The presented issue contains seven articles, three of which are theoretical while four present findings of empirical research. The first research paper Paradoxes of a Successful Theory: Intersectionality between Critique and the Confirmation of Hegemony by Kateřina Kolářová maps out the development and contemporary criticism of the intersectional theory and its use. What the next three papers have in common is a theme of age and old age. The theoretical article by Jasna Mikić, Aleksandra Kanjuo Mrčely and Monika Kalin Golob Gendered and 'Ageed' Discourse and Power Inequalities: the Intersectional Approach puts forward possible directions of the intersectional exploration of inequalities reproduction in terms of gender and age through language. In her article Sexuality and Ageing – Places of Silence, Jaroslava Hasmanová Marhánková examines and proposes ways of using the intersectional approach when studying the ageing of LGBT people. The third article that addresses the topic of age and ageing and is also the first research paper in this issue, is Ema Hrešanová and Alena Glajchová´s Elderly and Foreign: Vulnerability and Intersectionality in Healthcare. These scholars propose a new concept of vulnerability based on their research of the elderly and mothers of women migrants in the Czech health care system. The issue of health is also tackled in another research paper by Alena Křížková, Hana Hašková and Kristýna Pospíšilová titled Disability, Gender and Education in the Labour Market from an Intersectional Perspective, combining a quantitative and qualitative intersectional analysis in order to examine the position of women and men in the labour market in terms of health status, attained education and gender. In their article Unequal Starting? Intersectional Analysis of the Professional Life of Young Vietnamese in Czech Labour Market, Lenka Formánková and Marta Lopatková explore the interaction of factors affecting the professional status of university degree holders of Vietnamese origin who were either born in the country or came to the Czech Republic at a very young age. Kateřina Glumbíková, Barbora Grundelová and Alice Gojová, show through their research The Intersectionality of Oppression Experienced by Single Mothers in Homeless Shelters how mutual containment and interaction of factors such as gender, maternity, single parenthood, poor socio-economic situation, ethnicity and homelessness engender different forms of oppression of mothers from asylum homes. This thematic issue also includes Alena Křížková´s interview with Mary Romero, the professor at the Arizona State University, who currently chairs the American Sociological Association, in which they speak about the potential of the intersectional approach for studying social inequalities and achieving social justice. Alena Křížková´s interview is followed by a review of Mary Romero´s book Introducing Intersectionality (2018). Another review, closely related to the theme of this issue, is Klaudie Teichman´s review of Intersectionality (2016), a book by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge.
We believe this thematic issue will contribute to the development of the intersectional approach–both in social inequalities research and in the pursuit of tempering inequality and achieving social justice. We wish you a pleasant read providing a lot of inspiration for your work.
Anthias, F. (2012). Intersectional What? Social Divisions, Intersectionality and Levels of Analysis. Ethnicities, 13(1), 3–19. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468796812463547
Bowleg, L. (2008). When Black + Lesbian + Woman ≠ Black lesbian Woman: The Methodological Challenges of Qualitative and Quantitative Intersectionality Research. Sex Roles, 59, 312–325. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9400-z
Carbado, D. W., Crenshaw, K. W., Mays, V. M., & Tomlinson, B. (2013). Intersectionality: Mapping the Movements of a Theory. Du Bois Review. http://doi.org/10.1017/S1742058X13000349.INTERSECTIONALITY
Choo, H. Y., & Ferree, M. M. (2010). Practicing Intersectionality in Sociological Research: A Critical Analysis of Inclusions, Interactions, and Institutions in the Study of Inequalities. Sociological Theory, 28(2), 129–149. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9558.2010.01370.x
Collins, P. H. (1990). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowernment. Boston: UnwinHyman.
Collins, P. H. (1993). Toward a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection. Jean Ait Belkhir, Race, Gender & Class Journal, 1(1), 25–45. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41680038
Collins, P. H. (2012). Looking Back, Moving Ahead: Scholarship in Service to Social Justice. Gender & Society, 26(1), 14–22. http://doi.org/10.1177/0891243211434766Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the Margins : Intersectionality , Identity Politics , and Violence Against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299.
Collins, P., Bilge, H. S. 2016. Intersectionality. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Denis, A. (2008). Review Essay: Intersectional Analysis: A Contribution of Feminism to Sociology. International Sociology, 23(5), 677–694. http://doi.org/10.1177/0268580908094468
Dubrow, J. K. (2008). How Can We Account for Intersectionality in Quantitative Analysis of Survey Data? Empirical illustration for Central and Eastern Europe. ASK, (17), 85–100.
Hancock, A. M. 2016. Intersectionality. An Intellectual History. New York: Oxford University Press, https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199370368.001.0001.
Hašková, H., Křížková, A., & Pospíšilová, K. (2018). Intersekcionální přístup ke zkoumání nezaměstnanosti. Czech Sociological Review, 54(2), 171–197. http://doi.org/10.13060/00380288.2018.54.2.398
Kolářová, M. (2008). Na křižovatkách nerovností: gender, třída a rasa/etnicita. Gender, Rovné Příležitosti, Výzkum, 9(2), 1–10.Krekula, C. 2007. "The Intersection of Age and Gender Reworking Gender Theory and Social Gerontology." Current Sociology, 55(2), 155–171. http://doi.org/10.1177/0011392107073299
Lombardo, E., & Verloo, M. (2009). Institutionalizing Intersectionality in the European Union? International Feminist Journal of Politics, 11(4), 478–495. http://doi.org/10.1080/14616740903237442
McCall, L. (2005). The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(3), 1771–1800. http://doi.org/10.1086/426800
Milevska, S. (2011). Solidarity and Intersectionality: What Can Transnational Feminist Theory Learn from Regional Feminist Activism. Feminist Review, conference, e52–e61. http://doi.org/10.1057/fr.2011.29
Romero, M. (2018). Introducing Intersectionality (Short Intr). Cambridge: Polity Press.
Thornton Dill, B., & Zambrana, R. E. (2009). Emerging Intersections: Race, Class, and Gender in Theory, Policy, and Practice. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Walby, S. (2007). Complexity Theory, Systems Theory, and Multiple Intersecting Social Inequalities. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 37(4), 449–470. http://doi.org/10.1177/0048393107307663
Winker, G., & Degele, N. (2011). Intersectionality as Multi-level Analysis: Dealing with Social Inequality. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 18(1), 51–66. http://doi.org/10.1177/1350506810386084
Yuval-Davis, N. (2012). Dialogical Epistemology–An Intersectional Resistance to the “Oppression Olympics.” Gender & Society, 26(1), 46–54. http://doi.org/10.1177/0891243211427701