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35 ESA Social Theory Conference, Innsbruck, September 11-13, 2008

Csaba Szaló

Brno, Czech Republic

Cosmopolitan Memories: Mapping the Conceptual Boundaries of Cosmopolitanism

My presentation will analyze social theory at work by focusing on the concept of cosmopolitan memory. I will set side by side the sociological idea of transition from national to cosmopolitan memory cultures as it was developed by Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider with recent debates on cosmopolitanism in social anthropology and cultural theory. I propose to explore the conceptual boundaries of cosmopolitanism with the help of the following question: in what sense do cosmopolitan memories need to be grounded in a normative, inclusive symbolic representation of the Other?

Nina Toren

Jerusalem, Israel

Intersection Theory

The Intersection model has been adopted in the social sciences by feminist critical theory in the 90' (Crenshaw 2001). It is presently widely used to analyze and explain the social consequences for individuals having multiple identities and group affiliations. In particular, this theory is applied to the understanding and\or

improvement minorities.

of

the

situation

of

discriminated

Intersection theory postulates that minority groups are usually discriminated against on the basis of more than

one

characteristic,

e.g.

being

black,

leading

to

composite forms of social inequalities in various social domains. Namely, educational opportunities, wage

inequalities,

the

development

of

diverse

social

networks etc.

Intersectional approaches maintain that these factors are not independent analytic categories that can be simply added to each other but rather constitute one another, and should be studied as a synergetic whole. This study pertains to a major case of this phenomenon

  • -

    the RCG paradigm, that is to persons discriminated

simultaneously on the bases of race, class and gender. To examine empirically the tenets of intersection theory I employ the qualitative method including grounded theory and narrative analysis. The data show how the characteristics of gender, class and ethnicity intertwine in the life experiences of oriental faculty women in academia in Israel, and the conditions under which these configurations may change. The intersection perspective is not only of theoretical value but is important for the articulation of public policy and its implementation. It can be expanded beyond the study of personal identities and self perceptions, to interpersonal relationships, organizations and large social systems, such as the global labor market and labor force migration.

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