A Path towards Interdisciplinary Research Methodologies in Human and Social Sciences: On the Use of Intersectionality to Address the Status of Migrant Women in Spain

By MariaCaterina La Barbera.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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This paper addresses the theoretical issue of how to develop novel interdisciplinary epistemologies and methodologies in Human and Social Sciences by using the intersectionality theory, developed in Feminist and Gender Studies, as a tool. In the first part, the paper introduces the concepts of locationality and translocationality. These are important epistemological foundations of feminist theory to deal with the complex subjectivity that inhabits the postcolonial and globalized world. Intersectionality is presented as a tool that enables the analysis of interconnected factors that shape social locationalities and promotes developing new methodologies. What is in the name intersectionality, how it works, what novelty is there in it, and how it can be further developed are questions answered in this paper. In the second part of the paper, the concept of intersectional-gender is put forward to examine the complex social locationalities of women in transit and to read the status of migrant women in Spain. Finally, the paper decries the resistance to interdisciplinarity in Southern European institutions, and particularly in Spain, and suggests the use of intersectionality as frame for interdisciplinary research methodologies in Human and Social Sciences.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Intersectionality, Locationality, Feminist and Gender Studies, Race, Gender, Class, Culture, Religion, Migration

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 12, pp.193-202. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 769.688KB).

Dr. MariaCaterina La Barbera

Researcher, Center for Human and Social Sciences, Center for Political and Constitutional Studies of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Research Fellow at the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies and Affiliated Researcher at the Centre for Human and Social Sciences, Madrid (Spain). This work has been supported by MICINN grant n. FFI2009–08762 and by Instituto de la Mujer and ESF grant n. 06/10. I am grateful to the organizer of the IX International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities held in Granada (Spain) in 2011 (http://2011.thehumanities.com) for inviting me to deliver a keynote lecture to the conference. This represented for me an invaluable occasion to think about my research in broader terms and using it as an example to address the issue of general interest of interdisciplinarity in Human and Social Sciences. I am also indebted to the anonymous reviewers for their critical and encouraging comments.

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