ABI - Intersezionalità empirica in contesti di minoranze

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In Europa, gli approcci intersezionali nell'ambito degli studi sulle minoranze sono ancora rari. In particolare, esistono pochissime analisi empiriche intersezionali sulle reali esperienze delle donne appartenenti alle minoranze, delle persone queer e delle identità di genere, come recentemente evidenziato da una ricerca commissionata dall’Alto Commissario per le Minoranze Nazionali dell’OSCE. Mentre alcune organizzazioni internazionali, ONG internazionali e centri di ricerca in Europa hanno iniziato a introdurre l'intersezionalità e gli approcci intersezionali nelle loro attività, la ricerca intersezionale nel vecchio continente si è finora concentrata principalmente sui sistemi di potere e di resistenza e sulle donne migranti.

L'applicazione di una lente intersezionale è laboriosa ma fondamentale per cogliere le matrici di disuguaglianze e discriminazioni sociali che anche i membri delle minoranze (in particolare le donne e le persone queer) possono trovarsi ad affrontare quando si trovano nelle intersezioni, ad esempio, di genere, etnia, razza, classe, disabilità e violenza di genere. In effetti, la necessità di promuovere approcci e analisi intersezionali sta (ri)guadagnando attenzione a livello accademico, anche - paradossalmente - grazie all'ascesa di movimenti anti-gender e di partiti di estrema destra che mirano a rendere invisibili quelle matrici e strutture di oppressione che l'intersezionalità mira appunto a svelare.

In questo contesto, il progetto si incentra sull’analisi empirica e intersezionale di donne e individui queer appartenenti a minoranze a livello locale, nazionale e internazionale, con un focus geografico sulle regioni minoritarie in Europa.

In Europe, intersectional approaches within minority studies are still rare. In particular, there are very few empirical intersectional analyses on and of the real-life experiences of minority women, queer individuals and gender identities as recently evidenced by research commissioned by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. While some Europe-based International Organizations (IOs), international NGOs and research centres have started to introduce intersectionality and intersectional approaches in their activities, intersectional research in Europe has so far focused mainly on systems of power and resistance and on migrant women only.

Applying an intersectional lens remains most challenging but fundamental to capture the matrixes of social inequalities and discriminations that also minority members (particularly, women and queer individuals) may face when they find themselves at the nexuses of, e.g., gender, ethnicity, race, class, disability and gender-based violence. Indeed, the need to foster intersectional approaches and analyses is (re)gaining academic attention, also -paradoxically- thanks to the rising of anti-gender movements and of extreme rightwing parties that aim to make invisible those matrixes and structures of oppressions that intersectionality precisely aims to unveil.

In particular, this project builds upon previous IMR projects such as “The Intersection of Gender and Ethnicity in Socioeconomic Participation in South Tyrol and Catalonia in Post-Pandemic Times (InGEPaST)”. At the same time, it pursues further funding opportunities.

In this frame, it aims to address the following research questions:

  • How intersectional discrimination may be framed and applied in minority studies?
  • How do crucial social factors (e.g., disability, class, race/ethnicity, gender-based violence) affect women and queer minority members socioeconomic participation (e.g., gender gap)?
  • How queer individuals with a migratory background cope with their cultures and identity within a minority substate unit?

Methodology-wise, it aims to combine qualitative legal and social sciences research methods. Inter alia, it aims to pursue a critical participatory action research approach, that is, the type of research that is critical of social processes, looks for improvements, and involves participants since the project’s design and in all its stages (Robson & McCartan 2016: 199-201; Letherby 2020: 73).

By building upon the theory of intersectionality (Crenshaw 1989 and 1991; Collins 1990) that allows to explore how different factors operate and shape multiple forms of social inequalities, EncloSe adheres to the “paradigm intersectionality approach” proposed by Hancock (2019: 118) to empirically analyze the complex causalities of specific social inequalities and, at the same time, suggest ideas to transform the legal institutions.

In conclusion, this project tackles empirical intersectional analyses on minority women and queer individuals at local, national and international level with a geographical focus on minority regions in Europe (e.g., South Tyrol, Catalonia). It thus contributes to widen the application of intersectionality as a theory and as a methodology in minority studies.

In this frame, it also serves as a socio-legal research vehicle to assess and promote the local application of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nos. 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and of the three principles of universal values (human rights-based approach; leave no one behind; gender equality and women’s empowerment).

Planned activities 2024

  • Closure of admin issues of InGEPaST
  • New data analysis of InGEPaST dataset
  • Conference papers and presentations
  • Scientific articles


Crenshaw K. (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. The University of Chicago Legal Forum, 140, 139-167.

Crenshaw K. (1991) Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1279.

Hancock A. (2019). Empirical Intersectionality: A Tale of Two Approaches. In O. Hankivsky & J. S. Jordan-Zachery (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Intersectionality in Public Policy (95-132). Palgrave-MacMillan.

Letherby G. (2020) Gender-sensitive method/ologies. In D. Richardson & V. Robinson (eds.) Introducing Gender and Women Studies (58-75). Red Globe Press-Macmillan.

Robson C. & McCartan K. (2016) Real World Research. Wiley, fourth edition.

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