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Title: Ideology and difference : equality and diversity in contemporary Britain
Author: Semlyen, Tom
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is a contribution towards an explanation of how and why multiculturalism has been successful as a political ideology. My central focus is on the rise of a particular manifestation of multiculturalism in Britain: equality and diversity; more specifically, I trace the evolution of an equality and diversity ideological framework as the latter evolves over time to play a significant role in a wider neoliberal hegemony. I focus, in particular, on the role played by the concept of diversity, and later the concept of cohesion, as a response to the conflicts generated by the promotion of radical, redistributive equality policies in society. In order to carry out this investigation I analyse - both conceptually and empirically - a set of texts taken from seven case study organisations. Taking the debate between Laclau and Zizek as my theoretical starting point, I go on to provide a historical context for the case study material by looking at the origins of multiculturalism in Britain. I then use two of the case studies to develop a conceptual picture of an equality and diversity framework. Following this I identify, in the remaining case studies, various themes that I consider in detail: the emergence of equality and diversity as a business-led endeavour, the rise of equalities legislation, the relationship between class, social exclusion and diversity, and the more recent focus on cohesion. Throughout these case study chapters the aim is to map the development of equality and diversity, both as a historical phenomenon and as a functioning ideology. The picture that emerges is of equality and diversity as a way of depoliticising redistribution, and this, I argue, is a key factor in explaining its appeal to various groups in society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available