Table Topics: Facing Various Axes of Oppression – Individual, Political and Legal Approaches to “Intersectionality” (Guilaine Kinouani)

Intersectionality: A Bridge between the Social and the Psychological?

Intersection (photo: private)

Intersection (photo: private)

There is a long history of social scientists rendering invisible social forces such as oppression, discrimination and marginalisation on the psychological functioning of people who are located at the bottom of social hierarchies. Similarly, it remains largely unclear how social mechanisms may shape psychological structures and relational processes. Clear relationships nevertheless exist between social devaluation, stigma, exclusion and poor psychological health. It is therefore not coincidental that ‘low rank’ groups such as poor people, people of colour, those who identify as LGBT, people with disabilities or people considered ‘fat’, for example, tend to experience more challenges to their psychological well-being in ‘the west’.  Any genuinely liberatory approach to addressing these inequalities must strive to make visible the impact of these multiple and complex oppressions and of their bi-directional influence on wider social structures. Intersectionality offers us a starting point to illuminate the same. Using primarily personal testimonies, it will be argued that intersectionality when combined with psychological knowledge and theories may create innovative opportunities for the formulation of lived experience and for emancipatory action.

Logo (image: private)

(Logo of Race Reflections: private)

Guilaine Kinouani is a French woman of African descent, an amateur writer, an independent trainer and a race, culture and equality consultant currently working toward a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and accreditation as an integrative psychotherapist. Before this, she completed a degree in Cultural Studies and studied Counseling Psychology after obtaining a Masters in Transcultural Mental Health. She blogs at Race Reflections and Media Diversified on the interface of psychology, mental health, social justice, inequalities and difference. You can follow her activities on Twitter here.

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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