On 27 January 2023 Teresa Habimana Jordana presented her doctoral thesis “Narratives of Afro-descendant women in Catalonia: A study on mixticity and identity configurations from an intersectional perspective” at the UAB. Doctoral Program in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Autonomous University of Barcelona. Thesis directed by Dan Rodríguez and Anna Ortiz Guitart.
This doctoral research gathers the life stories of seven women of African descent, daughters of mixed-race couples and residents of Catalonia. Through the seven case studies collected and analysed using the biographical method, this research explores the processes of Multiracial Women of African Descent and their repercussions on the identity and socialisation. Specifically, the experiences of self-perception and self-identification, sense of belonging, stigmatisation, and discrimination, as well as the strategies to counteract the limiting effects using an intersectional perspective that has emphasised the factors of gender and ethnicity/racialisation in relation to spaces and relational links. From a biographical-narrative methodological approach that uses the autoethnography paradigm and the perspective of dialogical feminism, this research places the experienced narratives at the centre, assigning them epistemological value. In this way, it demonstrates the viability of generating highly qualitative research that values subjective experience and enables it as a source of knowledge. Through an exhaustive analysis of the narratives constructed by the seven participants, some common patterns have been identified, as well as singular itineraries that guide the results of this research. The main findings of the research point to the fact that mixedness, when crossed by processes of racialisation constituted by visibility markers associated with the stigma of blackness, does not dilute the perception of difference. On the contrary, the correlation between the inferiorising perception of these markers and the difficulty of configuring positive identities and identifications around Afro-descendant mixedness has become clear. In order to counteract the limiting effects of the experiences of stigmatisation and discrimination, one of the results being the resignification that turns stigma into an identity emblem. This re-signification of one’s own condition of Afro-descendant mixedness allows not only to develop positive identities and identifications around racialisation, but also to counteract the limiting effects of stigma and exclusion in a material and symbolic sense. In addition, it has been found that the links that participants maintain with their environment strongly condition their experience of identity and discrimination. Specifically, a directly proportional correlation was identified between the proximity, intimacy, and trust (comfort) of the spaces and relational ties and a decrease in the alterization or perception of hostility and rejection around the visibility markers associated with stigma.