The Equality Act 2010 and empty diversity : neoliberal legislation and inequality in the lives of trans* and sexgender nonconforming people

Hunter, Chryssy (2018) The Equality Act 2010 and empty diversity : neoliberal legislation and inequality in the lives of trans* and sexgender nonconforming people. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how effectively equality and diversity legislation in the UK offers recognition and protection to trans* and sexgender nonconforming people by engaging with their contemporary experiences. In order to explore these dynamics I give a genealogical and multidisciplinary context to my work. More specifically, I trace the ways in which the development of trans* and sexgender nonconforming discourses impacts on the evolving self-understanding of my research subjects. Finally, I also analyse the implications of my findings for particular forms of legally focused activism.

The thesis makes a critical examination of the much commented-on increase in trans* and sexgender nonconforming people’s visibility and social inclusion in the 21st century. In order to undertake such critique I theorize the impact of structural socioeconomic and cultural changes that have taken place in the context of neoliberal governmentality, including the developments in information technologies. I focus on important issues of materiality and political economy to analyse how the neoliberal logic of inclusion of previously discriminated against populations according to their socio-economic fungibility – i.e. their ability to participate in the market – necessarily creates new forms of exclusion and marginalization.

This thesis produced a critical examination of the nature of diversity itself in a neoliberal age, focusing in particular on how the valorization of a particular form of empty diversity – i.e. a depoliticized, instrumental and commodified recognition of difference - is emblematic of the delimitations of the effects of the neoliberal project. I contend that the forms of protection grounded in neoliberal understandings of ‘equality’ work to mask the structurally unequal and iniquitous effects of legislation, even if they represent an improvement in relation to the previous lack of recognition. In particular the Equality Act 2010 can be seen as entrenching inequality and discrimination, rather than promoting genuine social and economic equality, by only protecting more ‘legible’, ‘fungible’ and normative experiences of trans* expression.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Great Britain. Equality Act 2010; Equality before the law -- Great Britain; Discrimination -- Law and legislation -- Great Britain; trans* and sexgender nonconforming people; transgender people; transsexual people; sexgender people
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 340 Law
Department: School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 14:26
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2018 14:26
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/1537

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