Intersectionality Mapping, Children’s Agency, and Rebellion Against Parents

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Maria SCHMEECKLE, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University, USA
Emma LYNN, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University, USA
This paper uses intersectionality mapping to retrospectively explore children’s agency in the context of rebellions against parents, using a sample from the USA.

Children’s marginalization has long been recognized in childhood studies, but only recently has this marginalization been considered from an intersectionality theory approach (Konstantoni & Emejulu, 2017; Rodo-de-Zarate, 2017). Children’s lack of power by age exists alongside other areas of marginalization and privilege, and multiple inequalities intertwine to shape children’s trajectories (Choo & Feree, 2010). Intersectionality theory provides a useful framework in which to situate how contexts of marginalization and privilege shape children’s experiences of agency in their families, and recent work on children’s agency notes that it is not separate from the relational/interdependent contexts of children’s lives (Esser, Baader, Betz, & Hungerland, 2016).

To get at these dynamics, we present our methods, preliminary analyses, and lessons learned from of a portion of our study of children’s rebellion against parents, drawing on 40+ qualitative interviews with adults looking back on actual and desired childhood rebellions against parents. We conceptualize rebellion as “repeated cases of opposition to the rules, values, norms, or established power of one’s parents or guardians (either overt or covert) before age eighteen.”

We utilize a “relief map” created for the interviews to capture how the time periods related to rebellions and the control participants felt they had over their lives connected to eight social categories of age, race/ethnicity, education, income, sex/gender, religion, sexual orientation, and nationality. The relief map enables multiple categories of difference to be considered quickly, and gives a sense of their relative importance. We have modified Rodo-de-Zarate’s (2017) intersectionality tool; she mapped social categories alongside geographic locations, while we map social categories alongside time periods related to rebellions.