Dilemmas of Equality

Dilemmas of Equality

Marie Mercat-Bruns, Réjane Sénac and Hélène Périvier's papers now in open access!
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The special issue "Dilemmas of Equality: Perspectives from France and the USA" of the International Social Science Journal is now in open access. Two articles were written by PRESAGE researchers.

The new spirit of neoliberalism: equality and economic prosperity

by Réjane Sénac (FR) and Hélène Périvier (FR)

Abstract: The twenty‐first century began with a global crisis that is both economic and political in nature. In this context, an approach based on demonstrating how equality policies and the struggle against various types of discriminations are ‘performing’ has emerged. The approach is designed to show that priority must be given to implementation of the principle of equality, with ‘performance’ measured in terms of a cost‐benefit analysis from an economic and social perspective. We analyse public justification of contemporary policies on gender equality and the fight against discrimination to highlight the consequences of this approach. We look at the role of equality in market regulation in order to shed light on the complex links between economic development and social progress. We show that justifications of equality policies draw on a cost‐benefit analysis which legitimises them in terms of the economic and social benefits expected. We conclude that the foundations of equality and social justice are weakened by the importance accorded to the supposed or imagined benefits of equality policies and anti‐discrimination. Equality thus submitted to a demonstration of its performance is no longer a principle but rather an option dependent on such demonstration.

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Multiple discrimination and intersectionality: issues of equality and liberty

by Marie Mercat-Bruns (FR)

Kimberle Crenshaw was the first to identify the challenges of intersectional claims in law. On the European level, the term most often used is multiple discrimination. After 50 years of implementation of civil rights legislation, the United States offers a unique critique of the scope and the limits of anti‐discrimination law. The interpretation of concepts like disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination in employment reveals the complexity of individual and systemic discrimination. American empirical studies of the grounds of discrimination reflect issues of equality and liberty. The transatlantic comparison allows us to revisit the analysis of the intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination in law from a different standpoint in Europe.

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