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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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Equality

Equality

Chapter:
(p.103) 11 Equality
Source:
The French Republic
Author(s):

Jeremy Jennings

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.003.0012

This chapter explores the concept of equality in republican discourse. Over the last two hundred years and more, republicanism in France has put forward a variety of sometimes conflicting interpretations of equality. So too it has not been immune from the fundamental dilemmas that arise when questions of which equalities (or conversely, inequalities) are of importance. The chapter evaluates these evolving conceptions of equality in French republicanism by starting from its inception in the French Revolution to the 1946 constitutional guarantee of universal suffrage and equality for women before the law. Equality within the dominant republican discourse as well as practice eventually came to mean equality of rights rather than of opportunity or outcome. However, the chapter argues that this understanding of equality is not definitive, especially in light of the challenges posed against it in recent decades.

Keywords:   republican discourse, equality, inequality, interpretations of equality, equality rights, opportunity, outcome

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