Social categories of race, class, gender and sexuality are claimed to have been socially constructed. However, intersectionality perspective asserts that the single distinct factors do not contribute to inequities in social categories. Instead, they are the results of diverse social categories, life experiences and power relations (Hankivsky, 2014). Therefore, Intersectionality enables us to know how social categories are socially constructed by promoting an understanding of human beings as formed through the interaction of diverse social categories. Structures of power such as policies, media, religions institutions and laws facilitate these interactions. These social categories are socially constructed on the basis of power. This paper will discuss the role of intersectionality in facilitating understanding factors that lead to construction of social categories of race, class, gender and sexuality.
Attention to power indicates that power functions to eliminate some sorts of knowledge and expertise; shape the position of social categories such as race and as well function together to restructure the experiences of privilege between different social categories. Power is rational as per intersectional view (Hankivsky, 2014). For instance, someone can experience varying power and oppression simultaneously. This relativity with power entails exercising power over others and also entails people working together as a team.
Moreover, reflexivity is another instance that intersectionality pays attention to power. Reflexivity appreciates the significance of power of the self and interrelation with others and also at the societal level. Reflexive practice embraces several facts and diverse perspectives while giving room for voices from policy expert role. Reflexivity helps in transforming policies when persons involved bring substantial self-awareness, power interrogation and assumptions and honesty of their work questioning (Hankivsky, 2014).. For instance, reflexive practices help people to regard their personal linkage to colonization and enhance questioning about and practices of colonization of the indigenous people.
Intersectionality stresses on the significance of time and space in any kind of analysis. The way we understand space and time relies on the place we live and the time we interact. Our various knowledge, understanding of the world and the construction of the social categories are formed based on this scope of time and space (Hankivsky, 2014). Furthermore, as time goes, intersecting identities and the determining processes of their value changes. Therefore, time and space are not fixed but changeable and encountered through our interpretations, senses and feelings are conditions through our social categories.
Intersectionality concerns itself with theories of knowledge (epistemologies) and power, and particularly, with the interrelationship of production between power and knowledge. It includes the typically sidelined or isolated people whose perspectives and global views in knowledge production can disrupt the power forces which are activated by the same knowledge production (Hankivsky, 2014).. An instance is the inclusivity in analysis of policy of traditional knowledges the colonized people possess has the ability to change prevailing colonial or racist dialogues and hence present decolonization impacts. With the focus in analysis of policy that are intersectionality-based, that seeks to address inequities and power, IBPA generated knowledge should contain views and knowledge of those people who are left out in analysis of policy. By recognizing knowledge diversity, IBPA expands the comprehension of what is generally established as “evidence” for example qualitatively or qualitatively researched knowledge, scientific data or inherent/indigenous knowledge. A substantive consideration by IBPA Framework users on favoritism of power in some knowledge traditions and exclusion of others is a must, and a reflection on how varied knowledges traditions are picked for analysis of policy and the effects this approval has on diverse groups of people.
Intersectionality strongly stresses on social justice. However, strategies to achieve social justice vary depending on if it focuses on goods redistribution or on social categories processes. Every strategy focuses in attaining equity. Inequities in social categories often face challenge from the theories of social justice (Hankivsky, 2014). For instance, social justice is when we can be able to live a dignified life in an ecological sustainable environment with transformed use of resources. It is attained by developing new methods of thinking and not just criticizing the status quo. Social structures can be potentially transformed by a social justice approach hence dealing with resultants of inequalities.
Essentially, intersectionality provides a unique framework for analysis of issues in social diversity and inequity. Basically, from the discussion above, intersectionality proves to play a major role in helping us to understand how social categories are socially constructed through the interaction of diverse social categories of race, class, gender and sexuality and as well strive to address the issues of inequalities and call for social justice.