Alain TOURAINE : Equality And/or Difference : Real Problems, False Dilemmas

Journal article by Alain Touraine ; Published in Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 28, 2003.

The opposition between these two terms is so frequently repeated and, above all, so frequently serves as the ideological expression of conflicts of interests or of civilization that we must begin by clarifying it and defining the real content of the discussion ; if the terms are confused, the discussion may well remain unresolved. The real choice which confronts us can be reformulated as follows : either equality between individuals and groups is an equality of rights, as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen states perfectly, and not a de facto equality, and it applies to a specifically political and legal order which is above social and cultural realities, or this equality of rights implies a right to difference, which may apply to a specific social category as well as to a culture. If we consider equality from this second point of view, we must recognize the tension between the two terms–equality and difference–, a tension which can lead to opposition and rupture.

Aller au contenu principal