Enforcing Equality?

Promises and Limits of Legal Responses to Systemic Inequalities


  • Zsolt Körtvélyesi Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest




Inequalities are rising, with social divisions being increasingly presented as cultural, ethnic, religious or racial, as resulting from unchangeable traces and/or deep historical roots, revolving around essentialist visions of groups of people. The call for recognition of diversity has been transformed to identitarian nativism. At times, what surfaces is an anti-Enlightenment vision that seeks to reverse the long march towards the equalizing universal ideal of shared humanity. The impact of this trend on law could not be more pronounced. It seems timely to revisit law’s potential in fighting inequalities, assess what has been achieved and what innovative solutions can help equality struggles. The present thematic section focuses on law’s potential in fighting systemic inequalities, taking a wide approach that considers not only problems of implementation but also wider questions of political mobilization.