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Intersectionality and consubstantiality: 2 tools of analysis to think crossroads of gender, race, class

Abstract : This paper addresses the methodological challenges raised by intersectionality, based on our research into female and male doctors, nurses and nursing assistants' practices to take care of the patient's body, thus unveiling different policy approaches that can emerge. Today, cross-sectional studies of structures of domination and privilege along lines of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, age and religion fuel Women's and Gender studies interestingly. We will examine not only how it renews notably approaches to sexual division of labor and violence, but also how it challenges feminist epistemology. The woman/man sole axis can turn out insufficient and lead to tautology, as it happened in our study of practices to take care of the patient's body in hospitals. Nevertheless, there are several ways of taking account of the linking of different power relations. We propose to discuss 2 of them: the concepts of intersectionality and consubstantiality. On the one hand, the methodological challenges concerning the use of intersectionality as a tool of analysis are worth examining. To do so, we will go back to the original field, posture and epistemology embedded in intersectionality in the light of the work of Kimberle Crenshaw. We will emphasize the policy effectiveness of the concept as a hands-on strategy. In addition, discussing the limitations posed by intersectionality as a research paradigm will be of interest. In this respect, we will address the questions raised by the sequencing of power relations. On the other hand, critical analysis has been relying on the concept of consubstantiality, that is - in France - a way of grasping the overlapping of different systems of domination. We will have a strong interest in developing the epistemology of consubstantiality as a tool of analysis, with a view to highlighting its own way of grasping the overlapping of gender, race, and class. However, the impact of consubstantiality on policy approaches remains limited. Yet, in the wake of the use of this conceptual device, our research into the patient's body, and the research findings and design showed opportunities for establishing and developing a policy approach. Confronting the two concepts aims to better understand the similarities and differences between these two devices, leading to stock a "toolbox" to capture the heterogeneity of social situations. Our general hypothesis is as follows: the many social oppressions do not add up, but they intertwine, link together, overlap in a complex way. The way of taking account of it affects the implementation of policies.
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Contributor : Virginie Blum <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 2, 2012 - 9:58:15 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 3:36:02 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00675843, version 1


Virginie Blum. Intersectionality and consubstantiality: 2 tools of analysis to think crossroads of gender, race, class. 8th European Feminist Research Conference, May 2012, Budapest, Hungary. ⟨halshs-00675843⟩



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