Dissertation Abstracts

Tension in Intersectional Agency: A Conceptual Case Study of Racially Privileged Young Feminist Activists in São Paulo, Brazil

Author: Huijg, Dieuwertje Dyi , Dieuwertje.Huijg@manchester.ac.uk
Department: Sociology
University: University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Dr. Bridget Byrne, Dr. Vanessa May, Dr. Kevin Gillan
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: agency , intersectionality , power , activism
Areas of Research: Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations , Women in Society , Theory


In my research, I try to understand how intersectional agency can understood at the junction of structural advantage (as race) and structural disadvantage (as gender), and specifically situated in an ideology and activism of social change (feminism). As such, this is an attempt to conceptualise agency in the context of opposite positions in power relations. That is, this study looks at agency at the location where these opposite positions of power relations are or become the same while remaining different, but where they operate simultaneously and intersectionally. By questioning the individual-social divide, my project locates social structure within individuals to see how they mobilise (experience, negotiate, mobilise and (re)produce) their intersectional agency. Though knowing that intersectional agency at that location exists (Huijg 2012), it is still unclear what intersectional agency is. This project tries to understand this agency using empirical data. To do so, I conducted several phenomenological conversations with seven racially privileged young feminist activists in São Paulo (Brazil). I am analysing the data through a framework informed by Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), (Critical) Discourse Analysis and Thematic Analysis. The analysis is embedded in an interdisciplinary theoretical framework and explores concepts of agency, action and inaction, and social structure, as well as power, causation, self, experience, (double and false) consciousness and conscientisation, hegemony, doxa and common sense, ideology, internalisation and internalised oppression, gestalt, etc.