Professor Janneke Vans Mens-Verhulst from the University of Utrecht kicked-off the 2010-11 seminar series on Wednesday 20th October. Her seminar entitled: “Improving Health and Social Care with an Intersectional Approach to Diversity” introduced the concept of ‘intersectionality’ as representative of the complex, varied, and variable effects which proceed when multiple axes of differentiation – economic, political, cultural, psychic, subjective and experiential – intersect in historically and geographically specific contexts. The concept emphasizes that what we call ‘identities’ – black, gay, mother, Muslim and so on – are not objects but social processes constituted in and through power relations. The concept also emphasizes that different dimensions of social life cannot be separated out into discrete and pure strands.
Multiplicity, representing consciousness as a “site of multiple voicings” does not necessarily originate with the subject but through discourses that are intersubjectively and structurally produced. According to Van Mens-Verhulst these multiplicities are part of everybodies existence. Therefore, in order to be more patient centered and improve quality in health and social care environments we must take heed to the ‘multiplicity’ and ‘hybridity’ of patients social positions as well as to their similarities. Thus, multiple axes need to be observed on order to instruct quality improvement projects within our respective healthcare systems. Lincoln-presentation -handout Prof Van Mens Verhulst
If you want to learn more about Intersectionality Theory and feminist ethics in health and social care join us at the next seminar where Professor Magrit Shildrick from Queen’s University Belfast and author of “Leaky Bodies and Boundaries: Feminism, Postmodernism and (Bio)ethics” (1997), “Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self” (2002) and “Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality” (2009) will speak about heart transplants in her talk entitled: “Hybrid bodies and prostheses: the bioethics of identity.”