Hinweise und Tipps

Ort und Datum: 24th - 26th June, 2014 - Keele University, UK

Call for abstracts: The research practice of intersectionality in work and organisations

Stream Convenors:
Eve Ewington, Newcastle University, ENGLAND Elisabeth Anna Günther, Vienna University of Technology, AUSTRIA Katherine Ravenswood, AUT University, NEW ZEALAND Jenny K. Rodriguez, Newcastle University, ENGLAND

'What tools do we need to use to bring down the master's house if we cannot do it with the master's tools?'

This stream seeks to showcase conceptual, theoretical and theoretically informed empirical discussions about the research practice of intersectionality in work and organisations. Intersectionality continues to draw the interest of scholars looking to examine and understand inequality, how it shapes individual, multifaceted identities, and what needs to be done to challenge the 'givenness' of social categories (Hancock, 2007a; Ferre, 2009). Intersectional analysis moves beyond one-dimensional examination of inequalities based on its main proposition that in order to grasp social reality within work and organisations it is important to mind its complexity and avoid oversimplifying the effects of social categories. Instead the analysis focuses on "inequality regimes" (Acker, 2009), looking at the multilayered set of processes, policies, and practices that (re)produce inequality (Walby 2004). Ultimately, as an analytical framework that focuses on the interplay between political power and social inequality, intersectionality "will prove to be of importance in understanding organisations and working life in the next decade" (Harding et al. 2012, p.57).

However, despite its theoretical persuasiveness, intersectionality remains an open and contested term, with particular implications for its use as a research paradigm (Ferre, 2009, Hancock, 2007b). Nash (2008) has identified the lack of a defined intersectional methodology as an important tension within intersectionality scholarship. This issue remains unresolved with scholars struggling to apply the theory in practice, to hold onto the different levels of intersectionality (micro, meso, macro and global) and to deal with the analytical complexity posed by the potential need for different methodological approaches for each of the levels. In that respect, more work is needed that highlights the actual and potential methodological uses of intersectionality to examine the interplay between power and inequality in work and organisations. Indeed, whilst it is important to look closely and comprehensively at the underlying and intertwined processes and effects of inequality and privilege, it is equally important to understand what 'closely' and 'comprehensively' translate into in research practice. Research methods in social sciences were developed without the intersectional framework in mind, hence the underlying methodology is not suitable in order to grasp the complexity of intersectionality (Bowleg 2008, McCall 2005). Therefore, as Audre Lorde (1983/2010) has said, "the master's tool will never dismantle the master's house".

Moreover, although feminist researchers (c.f. Bowleg, 2008; MacKinnon, 2013) have pointed out that conventional frameworks fail to grasp the dynamics of power relations and effects of intertwined social processes; with particular exceptions (Hancock, 2007b; Simien, 2007), few discussions have engaged with intersectionality as a research paradigm and discussed the practical aspects of methodology and method for intersectional analyses. So, if the "master's tools" do not serve to unveil intersectionality in work and organisation, which tools should we use? How should intersectional research be designed?

As intersectionality is now "'a leading feminist paradigm' with expansive interdisciplinary reach [.] it is a critical moment to engage with its contradictions, absences, and murkiness" (Nash 2008, p.3). In the spirit of this call, this stream welcomes conceptual, theoretical and empirical papers that focus on the crafting of intersectional research in work and organisations. Important questions that the stream is seeking to explore are:
.        What do people do when they say they are doing intersectional analysis, both in terms of research design, and analysis and interpretation?
.        What makes intersectional analyses methodologically different from other types of feminist analyses?
.        How do we account in research design for the heterogeneity of social categories?
.        How do we craft multi-level intersectional analyses?
.        Is intersectionality useful and appropriate in all research contexts?
.        What does 'intersectional methodology' look like?
.        What is to be gained, or lost, through applying and adapting conventional quantitative and qualitative research methods to conduct intersectional analysis?
.        How can we avoid pitfalls, such as overemphasizing essentialist and oversimplified categories which do not capture the social reality of the research field?

Abstracts of approximately 500 words (ONE page, Word document NOT PDF, single spaced, excluding references, no header, footers or track changes) are invited by 1st November 2013 with decisions on acceptance to be made by stream leaders within one month. All abstracts will be peer reviewed. New and young scholars with 'work in progress' papers are welcomed. Papers can be theoretical or theoretically informed empirical work. In the case of co-authored papers, ONE person should be identified as the corresponding author. Note that due to restrictions of space, multiple submissions by the same author will not be timetabled. Abstracts should be emailed to: elisabeth.guenther@tuwien.ac.at    Abstracts should include FULL contact details, including your name, department,  institutional affiliation, mailing address, and e-mail address. State the title of the stream to which you are submitting your abstract. Note that no funding, fee waiver, travel or other bursaries are offered for attendance at GWO2014.

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