Feminist Theorizing of Intersectionality

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Sofia STRID , Gender Studies/Centre for Feminist Social Studies, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
Anna G. JÓNASDÓTTIR , Centre for Feminist Social Studies, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
This paper arises from collective work within the 5-year Swedish Research Council project, “Feminist Theorizings of Intersectionality”, organised within the GEXcel Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (Örebro-Karlstad-Linköping Universities), with a specific focus on the equality architecture, and in part from the EU FP6 project QUING.

The whole larger project examines intersectionality as a central concept in contemporary gender studies, in relation and dialogue with the diverse, and sometimes conflictual, theoretical and political stances in feminist debates. The project is designed against the background of the rich and diverse feminist traditions for theorizing of intersectionality, but it is also informed by the tensions between these traditions.

This paper analyses and compares how equality architectures (Walby, Armstrong, Strid, 2012, Social Politics) in Europe are restructured and challenged by the developments related to intersectionality and diversity, and the implications of the restructuring for theories of intersectionality. It links concepts of equality and intersectionality to policy frames and frameworks. It examines how the challenges of intersectionality are reflected and dealt with “on the ground”, in practical equality architectures on national and institutional level, e.g. in governments and universities, and the implications for gender equality and for the quality of the gender equality architecture. It takes the merger of equality institutions in European countries as case studies and analyses the implications of the mergers for theory and practice.

Preliminary conclusions based on previous research (Walby, Armstrong, Strid, 2012, Social Politics, QUING) suggest that even though the quality of the architecture may have improved by the inclusion of multiple inequalities, there may be a reduction of quality in terms of resources. For theory, preliminary conclusions suggest that intersectionality as mutual shaping (Walby, Armstrong, Strid, 2012, Sociology) may be a more successful approach to theory and practice than the often-prioritised mutual constitution.