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Maria Schmeeckle

Mentor Department



Children's agency is inhibited not solely by age, but by other areas of privilege and marginalization which work together to shape children's trajectories (Choo & Feree, 2010). Intersectionality theory provides an effective framework to conceptualize these nuances. This study draws upon a larger study of children's agency and childhood rebellion against parents composed of a demographically diverse sample of 61 participants. Participants were adults that either rebelled or wanted to rebel against parents before age eighteen. The sub-sample for this study focuses on 15 non-white, native born in the United States who categorize their race/ethnicity as African American, Latinx, Asian American, or American Indian. Intersectionality theory is concerned with understanding the ways in which individuals' social advantages and disadvantages are shaped by multiple axes of social division which work together and influence one another (Collins & Bilge, 2016). With this in mind, this study attempts to illustrate how multiple social categories interrelate in participants' stories about childhood rebellion. The participants were asked to connect their rebellions to eight different social categories-race/ethnicity, education, income, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, religion, and nationality. There are multiple approaches to intersectionality analysis (Misra 2018). Taking an intracategorical approach I have narrowed my sample (diverse across all eight categories) to include only racial/ethnic minorities who were native born in the United States. Taking an intercategorical approach I have analyzed participants' rebellion experiences across all eight social categories. Preliminary findings demonstrate that the social categories of education and income contributed to perceptions of rising agency while race inhibited childhood agency during the rebellion period. Although participants were not asked to explicitly relate the social categories to each other, the interrelatedness of these social categories became apparent through their interviews. These and additional findings will be discussed and connected back to the literature on intersectionality and children's agency. References: Choo, H.Y., & Feree, M.M. (2010). Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: A critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociological Theory, 28: 2: 129-149. Collins, P.H., & Bilge, S. (2016). Intersectionality (Key Concepts). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity. Misra, J. 2018. Categories, Structures, and Intersectional Theory. In James W. Messerschmidt, Patricia Yancey Martin, Michael A. Messner, and Raewyn Connell (Eds.) Gender Reckonings: New Social Theory and Research (pp. 111-130). NY: New York University Press.