This symposium addresses two overarching questions: • How can major concepts within intersectionality frameworks and epistemologies be operationalized in research? • What methodologies and methods can be used to illuminate complex intersectionality patterns, in different contexts, over time?
The papers focus on different questions and populations, using multiple types of data and methods. The first paper defines important dimensions within critical intersectionality, using qualitative analyses of focus group data, within grounded theory frameworks, with a sample of Arab/Middle Eastern youth and young adults. It illustrates important contexts and variations by age, gender, religion and other positionalities, how different positionalities are more or less salient in different locations, and how health and well-being are influenced by experiences in these settings. The second paper inter-relates life course perspectives with critical intersectionality in a sample of older, gay, African American men to explore how different and changing contexts shape transitions in the meaning, salience, and consequences of positionalities across the life course and how participants navigated these transitions. The third paper uses survey data from a national sample to examine adolescent opioid use in relation to residential contexts, SES, race/ethnicity and sex/gender. Complex patterns (in rates of use, rural and other contexts, and various positionalities) suggest different implications for prevention and interventions that address inequalities. The fourth paper returns to the sample from paper one, but focuses on complex survey data about positionalities, disparities, health and well-being. The paper compares different analytic methods, including Comparative Qualitative Analyses (CQA) conceptualizing each survey as a case study. This paper illustrates a promising methodology for analyzing and depicting complex patterns with a relatively small sample.
Together, these papers illuminate different approaches to implementing “strong intersectionality” in research, across different mixes of positionalities and types of data, all of which have implications for health and well-being. Each grapples with complex definitional questions, and how contexts influence the meanings and consequences of particular combinations of positionalities. They also illustrate different research methods, which we will compare and contrast in the discussion, elaborating on the benefits and dilemmas encountered in each.