Strengths And Limitations Of Intersectionality And Life Course Theory

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Introduction Integrating theory into social work practice is essential in defining why social work is needed and how to practice it effectively. This paper will discuss two theories; intersectionality and life course theory, as I believe that these two theories are collectively suitable and effective in interrupting the cycle of oppression. I will draw upon both my own experiences and literature to analyze the strengths and limitations of intersectionality and life course theory. This discussion will exemplify how intersectionality and life course theory enhance each other and can work synergistically to inform my social work practice. Intersectionality Intersectionality is a macro theory, which looks at the complexity of an individual’s identity …show more content…

Without applying intersectionality in analysis, oppression can only be understood in general terms, which can cause forms of oppression to become undetected (Mattsson, 2014). Instead, intersectionality, demonstrates the complexity of gender, sexuality, class, and race avoiding stereotypes as a whole, rather than simplifying an individual based on one characteristic (Mattsson, 2014). For example, when I was working at a Community Centre in the Jane and Finch area, I had a conversation with my co-worker. He described the barriers and struggles he has faced because of his race and socioeconomic status. It was through this conversation that I realized the pre-conceived notions my co-worker had about me, as a white individual who did not grow-up in the same neighbourhood. More specifically, my co-worker was surprised to hear that I experienced similar barriers as he did in regards to socioeconomic status. In other words, due to my race, my co-worker had perceived notions about my economic class, which conflicted with my actual experience. In this example, my identity was simplified based on my race, while my socioeconomic status was concealed. This is because race and class are structural systems of oppression that are often conflated. Thus, without the use of intersectionality, assumptions were made and forms of oppression became

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