Competence Center Intersectionality and Health

The significant influence of social determinants on health has long been empirically proven (cf. Commission of the World Health Organization (WHO). Social structural characteristics such as age, gender, sexual orientation, social status (operationalized via income, education, and occupational status), social living conditions, poverty, working conditions, migration history, culture and religion, as well as other factors such as experiences of violence, have been shown to have a considerable influence on health. As social determinants of health, they influence individual health burdens, the coping and resistance resources available in each case, as well as the health-relevant aspects of lifestyle and health care. Looking at only a single Social Determinant in isolation can lead to misinterpretation and failure to recognize more complex interrelationships. An intersectional perspective claims to reduce these blind spots by always considering multiple social determinants in their reciprocal, multiplicative rather than additive influence. With a critical focus on power and domination, intersectionality also identifies and analyzes the structural, societal, institutional or systemic causes of (health) inequality or discrimination that prevent equal opportunities. Intersectionality, social epidemiology and public health aim to reduce social and health inequalities.

The Competence Center "Intersectionality and Health" (KIG) examines these social determinants in their interaction on health, which in the sense of the WHO is not only understood as the absence of disease but as a state of comprehensive well-being.

In the KIG, experts from various disciplines have come together with the aim of conducting social and health science research and practice from an intersectional perspective.

[1] CSDH (2008). Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Geneva, World Health Organization.