Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 3, 2004 - Philosophy - 235 pages
What challenges are presented by the claim that diversity should be celebrated? How should equality politics respond to controversial constituencies, such as smokers and sports hunters, when they position themselves as disadvantaged? Challenging Diversity brings a new and original approach to key issues facing social, political and cultural theory. Critically engaging with feminist, radical democratic and liberal scholarship, the book addresses four major challenges confronting a radical equality politics. Namely, what does equality mean for preferences and choices that appear harmful; are equality's subjects individuals, groups or something else; what power do dominant norms have to undermine equality-oriented reforms; and can radical practices endure when they collide with the mainstream? Taking examples from religion, gender, sexuality, state policy-making and intentional communities, Challenging Diversity maps new ways of understanding equality, explores the politics of its pursuit, and asks what kinds of diversity does a radical version of equality engender.

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Introduction mapping the terrain
Diversity politics beyond a pluralism without limits
From blokes to smokes theorising the difference
Towards equality of power
Normative encounters the politics of samesex spousal equality
Getting in the way the social power of nuisance
Oppositional routines the problem of embedding change
Safeguarding community pathways possibly the happiest school in the world and other porous places
Diversity through equality

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About the author (2004)

Davina Cooper is Professor of Law and Political Theory, School of Law, University of Kent and Director of the AHRB Research Centre in Law, Gender and Sexuality. Her previous publications include Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994), Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (1995), Governing Out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (1998).

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