Article: The feminist perspective of intersectionality in the field of public health: a narrative review of the theoretical-methodological literature
Intersectionality has emerged as a promising analytical resource for understanding and handling global inequalities within the health aspect. The approach initially emerged in the late ’90s within the black feminist activism field in the United States. At the time, it was a critique of one-dimensional analyses of social inequalities. It comprises a theoretical-methodological view that is multi-disciplinary oriented and focuses on being cognizant of the complexities within identities and social inequalities.
Citing Havinsky et al. (2017), the intersectionality analysis within health goes beyond getting the sum of categories such as sex, race, class, among others, to make efforts to comprehend the created element between the intersection of the involved axes of oppression. To this effect, the multidimensional and relational nature of social differentiation markers is identified similar to how the social spaces pervaded with power dynamics that are imposed with systems characterized by discrimination and subordination.
The analyzed articles’ findings indicated that research on the social determinants of health had adopted the most feminist approach of intersectionality. There is a search to deal with the reductionist tendencies present within the social determinants of health in conjunction with the requirement to involve other aspects of social life that go past the economic dimensions. Notably, this article recommended being careful on the theoretical-methodological level, such as avoiding the hierarchization of categories within the social difference in understanding the oppression process and marginalization which form the health inequalities.
Intersectionality originally came from conducting feminist studies is now contributing to the health field due to its ability to establish itself as a theoretical basis and a framework to conduct empirical research. The increasing incorporation of intersectionality in health research and the subsequent debates revive an interdisciplinary production within the public and collective health.
Couto, M. T., Oliveira, E. D., Separavich, M. A. A., & Luiz, O. D. C. (2019). The feminist perspective of intersectionality in public health is a narrative review of the theoretical-methodological literature. Salud Colectiva, 15, e1994.