Edited by Alan Bogg, Cathryn Costello and A. C.L. Davies
Chapter 18: A method for intersectional discrimination in EU labour law
The year 2014 marked the 40th anniversaryof the Combahee River Collective and the 25th anniversary of its legal counterpart in anti-discrimination law, intersectionality. Intersectionality is a complex idea. It emerged to highlight the structural blindspots in anti-discrimination law that precluded a remedy for black women workers, who were invisible in law because their labour market experiences could not be attributed to either race or gender alone. They therefore existed in a legal vortex where discrimination could fester with impunity. This chapter offers a method to diagnose and remedy intersectional discrimination. My intention is to consider and contribute to the ongoing debate about intersectional discrimination in particular, as opposed to the idea of intersectionality in general. The concept of intersectionality has spread far beyond equality law. It has been welcomed as a general methodological approach in many disciplines. Despite some feminists declaring it a ‘bankrupt’ concept by 2007, scholars outside of gender studies and law have been excited by the many possibilities offered by the idea of experiences at the nexus. Sociologists have studied intersections of gender, migration and citizenship, sexuality and class, sexuality and gender; geographers look at the intersection of sexuality and space. Political scientists use intersectional analysis to frame the ‘particularities of individual experiences within the complexity of policy making in an increasingly small, technologically connected, and ideologically nuanced public square’. Medical researchers have argued that intersectionality offers huge potential to: study health and disease at different intersections of identity, social position, processes of oppression or privilege, and policies or institutional practices.
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