Discrimination and Anti-Discrimination: Socio-Legal Perspectives

Discrimination, understood here in the broad sense of an unequal and disadvantaging treatment of individuals based on their attribution to a particular social group, is both a wide-spread social phenomenon and a politically contested issue. All over the world, equal access to rights and resources has been restricted with reference to various and changing criteria, such as gender, religion, race or health. This has been challenged by social and political movements, and addressed by national and international legal instruments seeking to fight particular forms of discrimination and systematic mistreatment. Over the last decades, research in both law and the social sciences has examined origins and types of discrimination as well as the effects of legal and societal anti-discrimination remedies. Many studies have focused on a) particular groups that are discriminated against (e.g. ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities, women, homosexuals and other sexual minorities, disabled people), b) particular sites where discrimination is occurring (e.g. interpersonal, institutional or public levels) or c) mechanisms and movements fighting against discrimination.

This interdisciplinary seminar attempts to bring these diverse perspectives together. It is open to interested students in law, the social sciences and anthropology at the Universities of Bern and Neuchâtel. In three one-day block courses, students will be asked to analyse and discuss the interplay of social processes and legal regulations in the field of discrimination and anti-discrimination in an interactive setting. Particular attention will be given to the criteria of race, ethnicity and religion; gender and sexual orientation; disability and health.
To register to the course, send an email with your contact details (name, matriculation number, degree and semester) to noemie.hirsigoefre.unibech.

Students taking the seminar do not need a background in public law or sociology, but should be open minded and interested in a broad and ongoing debate that strikes the heart of our understanding of the states. Written coursework can be submitted in German or English.