Table Topics: Facing Various Axes of Oppression – Individual, Political and Legal Approaches to “Intersectionality” (Andrea D. Bührmann)
Crucial to the rise and propagation of diversity as a relevant notion for the social sciences were the activities of various social movements, above all, the civil rights movement, the women’s and lesbian movement and also the labour movement . Today, the issue of diversity features in many disparate areas of society and at different levels. The spectrum stretches from discussions at the micro level on the identity politics of individual social groups, tending to involve, in particular, women, members of ethnic minorities and also LGBT activists, to the macro level with the central axes of social inequality, for example, hierarchical gender relations, class relations or migration regimes, and also encompasses, at the meso level, approaches to diversity in the workplace in the form of organisational diversity management policies. Further, at the level of the symbolic order, discussions are taking place on the possible consequences of diversity.
What is at issue in those discussions is the recognition of historical discrimination and privilege and the redistribution – primarily – of economic and cultural resources. A further area of controversy is whether diversity management policies should be seen as the appreciation or simply the economisation of the other. I would like to discuss these questions and – moreover – I would like to start a discussion about the question, how we can analyze those processes.
Andrea D. Bührmann is professor of sociology and founding director of the Göttingen Diversity Research Institute. She is internationally renowned and has been a visiting professor at the Universities of Salzburg, Vienna, Klangenfurt and Berkley/California. Her research interests include the sociology of diversity and gender relations, the sociology of knowledge, as well as economic social practices and research on Entrepreneurship. Professor Bührmann is also a trained personnel officer and holds the office Vice President for Teaching and Learning at Göttingen University ever since 2015.