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The politics of equality: professionals, states and activists

Shona Hunter (School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Elaine Swan (Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Article publication date: 3 July 2007




The paper draws out the key conceptual, methodological and substantive issues raised in the papers around the politics of equalities.


Rather than reviewing and summarising each paper in turn this introductory article synthesises the key themes from papers to develop an overview of the key issues raised in the edited collection.


The papers trouble traditional dichotomies in equalities studies, suggesting complex and fluid relationships between states, activists and professionals. They also identify some key elements of current equalities work such as equalities framing, diversity interpretation and the negotiation of ambiguity produced through the seesaw of hope/failure characterising this work.

Research limitations/implications

The collection highlights the continuing dearth of work around certain equalities strands, in particular, around sexualities and generation. It also suggests avenues for further work developing postcolonial analysis of equalities work in organisations.


The collection is unique in that it draws together current work crossing diverse national and sectoral contexts and from a range of equalities strands.



Hunter, S. and Swan, E. (2007), "The politics of equality: professionals, states and activists", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 377-386.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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