Using Intersectionality in Biographical Research

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC38 Biography and Society (host committee)
RC05 Racism, Nationalism, Indigeneity and Ethnicity

Language: English

Joint session RC38 (Biography & Society) and RC05 (Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations)

Intersectionality as theory has provided a sophisticated and dynamic way to conceptualize how socially constructed differences and structures of power based on gender, ethnicity, class, national belonging, sexuality and more work at the level of individual experiences, social practices, institutional arrangements, symbolic representations and cultural imaginaries.  It has been embraced as one of the most important contributions to critical studies in the field of gender studies, critical race studies, and postcolonial scholarship. Despite its popularity, there has been less attention paid to how the insights of intersectionality as theory can be applied to empirical research on identities and experiences of exclusion, subordination, and marginalization.  Biographical research is ideally suited for an intersectional approach because it allows the researcher to explore how axes of difference and power are discursively negotiated by differently located individuals as they talk about their experiences, their life histories, and their identities. 
This session invites scholars who have used intersectionality in their research to reflect on the the advantages, but also the problems and pitfalls of an intersectional lens for analyzing and understanding how power and difference work in people’s everyday lives. The goal of the session is not to evaluate intersectionality as a theory, but rather to explore the ways it can (or cannot) be used as a method in biographical research.

Session Organizers:
Kathy DAVIS, VU University, Netherlands and Helma LUTZ, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Kathy DAVIS, VU University, Netherlands
Helma LUTZ, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Oral Presentations
Intersectional Analysis of the Self-Perception of Binational Descendants in Switzerland and in Morocco
Gwendolyn GILLIERON, phd Candidate at Goethe-University Francfort, Germany
Always ‘Discursively Negotiated’ – Using Intersectionality in Biographical Research
Tina SPIES, University of Potsdam, Germany; Elisabeth TUIDER, University of Kassel, Germany
Methodological Considerations on Intersectional Perspectives on Life Histories, Practices and Strategies in Contexts of Family and Migration
Lalitha CHAMAKALAYIL, University of Applied Sciences and Art, Northwestern Switzerland, Switzerland; Christine RIEGEL, University of Education Freiburg, Germany
Distributed Papers
Perspectives on Intersectional Interrelations in Biographies of First-Generation Students.
Tina MASCHMANN, Methodenzentrum Sozialwissenschaften, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
Precarious Masculinity in the Context of Refugee Migration.
Paul SCHEIBELHOFER, University of Innsbruck, Austria
‘Being Jewish’, ‘Being German’ and Being in Love
Ina SCHAUM, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany