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Promoting equality (June 27 and 28, 2016)

27-28 juin 2016
Université Paris Diderot, amphithéâtre Buffon, 15 rue Hélène Brion (Paris 13e)


Equality is the constitutive value of contemporary democracies, and theorizing equality has become an industry of some kind. Whether in gender or discrimination-focused research, historical studies have emphasized the de facto exclusion of subordinated groups, such as women, sexual minorities and racial minorities, from the advances of formal equality. Against the persistence of inequalities – gender and race-related ones in particular –, social movements, academic research, and public policies have helped theorize notions such as equality of opportunity, parity, discrimination, and intersectionality. Moreover, they have developed a plurality of strategies designed to go beyond de jure equality. Moving from equality as a constitutional principle to equality as an overarching social condition has been the central project of the last decades since the mid-twentieth century. That project has yet to be completed, as public policies only imperfectly reflect the goal of equality and different strategies to this end co-exist and sometimes run in conflict with one another.

In this light, many studies attempt to dissect and assess equality-oriented public policies, especially antidiscrimination and affirmative action policies, whether those are of a coercive kind or simply provide incentives to decision makers. Beyond simply ascertaining whether legal rules and principles are being complied with, what measures have proven (in)effective in promoting equality – and why? Which indicators ought one to select in order to answer that question ? What obstacles do such attempts at assessing policy effectiveness run into, and by what distortions are they unavoidably affected ? What can we learn from them nonetheless ?

Quite independently, other empirical studies focus on social movements geared toward promoting equality, on the factors accounting for their emergence and development, on the types of action that they engage in. Why and how do the individuals involved in them attempt to act for equality, especially as far as gender and antidiscrimination are concerned ? Are the kinds of action that they favor determined by the underlying conceptions of equality that they endorse ? Those are a few of the questions that need to be addressed.

The main goal of this conference is to highlight and bring together all such studies that often ignore one another, so as to look into the interplay between their objects of inquiry, whether analyzed at the national, local, or European levels. The potential side effects of those empirical studies on conceptions of equality may also be considered. The disciplinary fields involved include all the human and social sciences (sociology, economics, philosophy, social psychology, law, political science, management, history, anthropology, demography…). Comparative studies and studies focused on cases other than France are welcome.

Authors will be informed of whether their proposal has been accepted on December 15. For those receiving a positive answer, papers are due on June 20, 2016.

Transportation and accommodation expenses are not covered by the "Gender, Inequality, Discrimination" consortium.
Organizing Committee:
Mireille Eberhard (Ardis), Jacqueline Laufer (HEC), Yannick L'Horty (UPEM), Catherine Louveau (Univ. Paris Sud), Frédérique Pigeyre (Univ. Paris Est Créteil), Florence Rochefort (CNRS GSRL EPHE/CNRS), Daniel Sabbagh (CERI, Sciences Po), Patrick Simon (Ined)

Scientific Committee :
Catherine Achin (UPEC/CRESPPA-CSU), Armelle Andro (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne/INED), Nathalie Bajos (INSERM), Laure Bereni (CNRS), Gwénaële Calvès (Université de Cergy Pontoise), Annie Cornet (Université de Liège), Éric Fassin (Université Paris 8), Erika Flahault (Université du Maine), Claire Hancock (UPEC), Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense), Sophie Jacquot (Sciences-Po), Thomas Kirszbaum (ISSP Cachan), Laurie Laufer (Université Paris Diderot), Éléonore Lépinard (Université de Lausanne), Emanuela Lombardo (Université Complutense de Madrid), Françoise Lorcerie (CNRS), Cendrine Marro (Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense), Frédérique Matonti (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Amy G. Mazur (Sciences-Po), Marie Mercat-Brun (CNAM), Dominique Meurs (Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense), Pascale Petit (Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée), Christian Poiret (Université Paris Diderot), Jean-François Ravaud (INSERM), Juliette Rennes (EHESS), Anne Revillard (Sciences-Po), Joan W. Scott (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), Réjane Senac (CNRS), Rachel Silvera (Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense).

Coordination :
Sylvie Blumenkrantz (DIM GID), Sandrine Lely (IEC).