Upcoming session: The Intersecting Invisible Experiences of Gypsy/Traveller Girls in Scotland

When: Wednesday, November 25th, 4pm

Where: 7 George Square, S37 (Google Maps here)

Led by Geetha Marcus

Please join us for this seminar, where Geetha will discuss her doctoral research with Scottish Gypsy/Traveller girls, with a focus on intersectional methodology. This will be an interactive, informal workshop-style seminar, with plenty of time for discussion. We are really looking forward to it! The event is open to all, but we do have limited places. Please RSVP to Cara Blaisdell at c.b.blaisdell@sms.ed.ac.uk if you would like to attend.


There has long been interest both politically and theoretically in exploring the complex relations between identity, hierarchical power and subordination.

Intersectional approaches to social locations have stressed the interdependence between different kinds of divisions as well as the tensions and contradictions within and across these social categories. In this brief presentation, I will argue that traditional unidimensional approaches to investigating experiences of oppression and subordination, particularly within marginalized communities, are inadequate.

Critically exploring the complexity of such issues through a single lens – race, gender or class, for example, is likely to produce simplistic and skewed findings.

Intersectionality is not just good research practice or a necessary heuristic device for understanding issues of power and inequality, but is increasingly viewed as a research paradigm in its own right. Drawing on the work of several key proponents of this methodological approach (Anthias, 2013; Brah & Phoenix, 2004; Crenshaw, 1991; Davis, 2008; Yuval-Davis, 2006), I propose that an intersectional framework is ideally placed to critically explore such experiences, using empirical examples from a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with Scottish Gypsy/Traveller girls. Their stories are highlighted and juxtaposed alongside the general problems encountered by Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland and reveal an intricate, convoluted narrative. I also problematize what it means to be ‘white’, and to be a ‘white woman’ living within ‘simultaneously interlocking oppressions’ that collectively serve to marginalise and silence lives (Brah and Phoenix, 2004; Combahee River Collective, 1977; hooks, 1981). Equally, discrepancies in levels of empowerment, public participation, media representations and respect for ethnicity are experienced at these intersections.


Keywords: Methodology, intersectionality, Gypsy/Traveller girls

(257 words)


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