The Meaning of Ethnic Equality in Scandinavian Anti-Discrimination Legislation

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Ethnicity is an academically contested concept and has multiple meanings in everyday communication. The present article analyses recent Swedish and Norwegian anti-discrimination law reform documents and asks how policymakers debate the meaning of ethnic equality, and the consequence of this debate for the incorporation of preferential treatment regulation in the law. The analysis suggests that ethnicity must be interpreted through a multifaceted lens of ‘othering’ in order to allow for ‘appropriate’ distinctions between relevant groups. This raises particularly challenging questions for proactive equality work, a central component of the anti-discrimination legislation in these countries.

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