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Chapter Intersectionality 101

SOCC38H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter Intersectionality 101: First Nations, Health Equity, Intersectionality

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Ann Mullen
Intersectionality 101

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Intersectionality 101
The Purpose of this Primer
Intersectionality to challenge inequities and promote social justice
Clear-guide. Explore key elements and characteristics. Show how intersectionality can
fundamentally alter how social problems experienced, identified, and grasped to include breadth of
lived experiences
What is intersectionality?
Understanding of human beings as shaped by interaction of different social locations. Occur within
context of connected systems and structures of power. Through processes, interdependent forms of
privilege and oppression shaped by colonialism, imperialism ,racism, homophobia, ableism and
patriarchy created
Inequities never result of single, distinct factor. Rather, outcome of intersections of different social
locations, power relations and experiences
Intersectionality is Based on Several Key Tenets:
People's lives multi-dimensional and complex. Lived realities are shaped by different factors and
social dynamics operate together
Categories and their importance must be discovered in the process of investigation
Relationships and power dynamics between social locations and processes are linked. Change over
time and different depending on geographic locations
People can experience privilege and oppression simultaneously
Multi-level analysis that link individual experiences to broader structure sand systems crucial for
revealing how power relations are shaped and experienced
Must "reflexivity"
Oriented towards transformation, building coalitions among different groups, and working towards
social justice
Several models developed to clarify essence of intersectionality
o Canadian research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) - wheel diagram
o Mason - "Intersectional approach Model for Policy and Social Change"
o Rita Dhamoon - "matrix of meaning making"
What is the Appeal of Intersectionality?
Intersectionality encourages researcher, policy makers and social change leaders to:
o Move beyond single identities or group-specific concerns, important information unfair impacts
of politics and policies less likely "fall through cracks"
o Explore new research and policy approaches
o Trends of increasingly diverse populations, creating new and complex challenges in all areas of
public policy
o Generate new and more complete information to better understand origins, root causes and
characteristics of social issues
o Enable more effective and efficient responses that a 'one-size fits all' approach for solving
persistent and growing social inequities
Why is this important?
o 7/10 people in world live in countries where inequality increased over past 3 decades
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o Inequality undermining social stability and "threatening security on global scale"
In Canada:
o "below the average" in measures of inequality, and ranks 12th out of 17 peer countries
o 1/7 Canadian children live in poverty.
o Health inequalities in Canada widespread and show up in numerous indicators of health, such as
life expectancy, infancy mortality, disease incidence, mortality, and injuries at every stage of life
o Life expectancy for First nations people 5-7 years less among non-aboriginal Canadians
Principles of Intersectionality
Intersecting Categories
o Social categories as interacting with and co-constituting one another to create unique social
locations that vary according to time and place. Intersections and effects are what matters
Multi-level Analysis
o Understanding effects between and across various levels in society, including macro, meso or
intermediate, and micro levels. Reveal themselves through process of intersectional research
and discovery
o Attention to power highlights
Power operates at discursive and structural levels to exclude some types of knowledge and
Power shapes subject positions and categories
These processes operate together to shape experiences of privilege and penalty between
groups and within them.
o Power is relational. Intersecting processes by which power and inequity produced, reproduced
and actively resisted.
o Acknowledges the importance of power at micro level of self and our relationships with others,
as well as the macro levels of society
o Can help transform policy when the people involved bring critical self-awareness, role-
awareness, interrogation of power and privilege, and the questioning of assumptions and
'truths' to their work
Time and Space
o How we experience and understand time and space depends on when and where we live and
o Time and space are not static, fixed or objective dimensions and/or processes, but are
fluid, changeable and experienced throughout interpretations, senses and feelings, which are,
in turn, heavily conditioned by our social position/location, among other factors
The diversity of knowledges
o Perspective and worldviews of people who are typically marginalized or excluded in the
production of knowledge can disrupt forces of power that are activated through the production
of knowledge
o Must consider how power favors certain knowledge traditions to exclusion of others, and reflect
on both the way that diverse knowledge traditions are taken up in policy analysis and the
implications this uptake has for different groups of people
Social justice
o Challenges inequities at their source and require people to question social and power relations
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