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Society

Éric Fassin, sociologist at the faculty of political science and gender studies at Paris-VIII Vincennes-Saint-Denis (*)

Translated Monday 1 June 2015, by Adrian Jordan

“There is plurality in the logic of domination”

“Inequality should be spoken of in the plural. This is the lesson of the last decades. Certainly, there is class, now as ever. But one has to admit there are also those discriminations which hit women and sexual and racial minorities. It is not about replacing one determinant with another: one does not preclude the other. The challenge is to take account of the plurality of the logic of domination. Once it is admitted, for example, that a black middle-class person is also victim of discrimination and, therefore, class does not efface the colour of skin, all that is left is to comprehend that the two notions interrelate but one does not supervene the other.

The term intersectionality is used in social science and in militant movements. There are groups which are doubly indivisible because they are at the intersection of two forms of discrimination (such as sex and race, as is seen in “black feminism”); but no trait is dismissed. Additionally, these characteristics interact with each other: one cannot conceive these characteristics (class, sex, race, etc) independently of one another. To be an “Arab” or “Arabess”, in France today, is not the same thing, though the supposed origin is taken from ideas of genre. Today we must all consider the rise in class inequality and worsening discrimination in neoliberal Europe, in other words, the ties between economic policies and the xenophobia and racism of the state. Urgent sociological and political analysis must be made of the complexities of inequality.

(*) Latest publication: ”Gauche : l’avenir d’une désillusion”. Éditions Textuel, 2014.


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