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Living Intersectionality and Doing Intersectionality: The Stories of Transition and Struggle of Young Neapolitans

TitleLiving Intersectionality and Doing Intersectionality: The Stories of Transition and Struggle of Young Neapolitans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSpanò A, Domecka M
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published07/2021
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsagency, biographical approach, intersectionality, transitions to adulthood, young people

The economic and social transformations following the exit from the wage earning society (Castel, 2009) made the process of becoming an adult longer, less linear and more difficult than in the past. The transition to adulthood is thus delayed, especially in the countries like Italy, where due to poor welfare protection and reduced job opportunities, young people’s destiny depends largely on family support and undeclared work. All of this is happening in the context of structural conditioning, defined by the intersectionality of class, gender, and ethnicity (Hill Collins & Bilge, 2016; Amelina & Lutz, 2019), unequally distributing life chances across different categories of young people. This process of being subjected to structural influences is described here as ‘living intersectionality’. This, however, is not a one-sided process, as structural conditioning can be reflected and acted upon in the agential process of ‘doing intersectionality’ (Lutz, 2014; L pinard, 2014). We argue here that young people are not only subjected to the intersecting dimensions of gender, class and ethnicity but they may also develop the capacity to critically reflect and act on them thanks to the power of agency. On the basis of 80 autobiographical narrative interviews (Schütze, 2008) conducted in the last decade with young people of different gender, class and ethnic background, living in the metropolitan area of Naples, we aim to show how the combination of intersectional and biographical analysis allows to grasp the processes of living and doing intersectionality.