Promoting equality through social inclusion*

Mark Bell

in The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264911
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754098 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Promoting equality through social inclusion*

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This chapter explores how equality is pursued, comparing two approaches. In Europe, legal responses to inequality have tended to focus on anti-discrimination legislation. This approach attempts to bring about equality by giving individuals a right to challenge discrimination through litigation before courts or other adjudicatory bodies. In contrast, the promotion of social inclusion has been more typically linked with policy-based mechanisms, not amenable to judicial enforcement. A dichotomy thus arises between two pathways for advancing equality: antidiscrimination and social inclusion. The chapter begins by reviewing in more detail the characteristics, strengths, and pitfalls of each of these two approaches. It then seeks to explore whether these approaches might be brought together and, to this end, it examines the European Social Charter, which appears to marry some of the qualities of both approaches. It is an instrument of international law, yet it has a holistic outlook on social rights and their implementation in practice. In order to make a more concrete assessment of the Charter's potential to promote equality, two discrete case studies are considered, focusing on the social situation of Travellers in Ireland and Roma in Italy.

Keywords: inequality; anti-discrimination legislation; social inclusion; European Social Charter; social rights

Chapter.  7038 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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