The conference seeks to contribute to the understanding of the causes, consequences and underlying dynamics of inequalities, as well as to the understanding of contemporary policies to combat them. In challenging differences and inequalities in contemporary societies, the conference addresses different grounds of inequality, such as gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, disability, class and age, and also focuses on the comparison and intersection that can be drawn between them.
How people’s social identities relate to inequality and exclusion has led to extensive political and academic debates on the relation between differences and inequalities, and how best to design equality policies. These debates have been characterised by growing attention to multiple, and possibly inter-related, axes of social identities and the varying ways these axes structure social exclusions and inequalities.
Central to the conference is the notion that equality remains highly complex and that attention to inequalities needs to be underpinned by innovative thinking on and novel methodological and conceptual approaches to the study of (in)equalities. Because they are shaped by social interaction and existing structures, the grounds of (in)equality are continuously changing. Factors such as the economic crisis, migration and political pacification give different meanings to (in)equalities in place and time. The dynamic character of (in)equalities implies that the elimination of inequalities cannot be realised by any single action but requires on-going attention to the actors, institutions and structures that help shape social (in)equalities. In this light, it needs to be recognised that scholars’ and policy makers’ attempts to foster equality may – somewhat paradoxically – strengthen inequalities. In trying to attain text-book ‘equality’, equality policies may solidify existing inter and intra-group relations and reify groups’ marginalised status within society.
This multi-disciplinary conference wants to further knowledge on the causes, consequences and underlying dynamics of inequalities, and the policies that allow for combatting them. The conference addresses different grounds of inequality, such as gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, disability, class and age, and also focuses on the comparison and intersection that can be drawn between them.