Power Between Discrimination and Representation: Towards a More Inclusive Society

L. Rossetti


Equality is a word that gets thrown around often in political debates and it is at the core of many philosophical beliefs. Additionally, it often goes hand in hand with themes such as freedom and justice, which are all related to the way power is distributed and exercised. Although modern Western societies are built around the liberal model — with its obsession over freedom and autonomy — it is possible to still identify several imbalances in the way power is exchanged. From these instances of inequality, unhappiness is born. When segments of a community are cast away and forced to live in the margins of society, they often end up enjoying less freedom than the dominant groups. Moreover, through the (sometimes intentional) misuse of language, political representation and cultural elements. This becomes painfully evident when looking at the world through a gendered lens, for the confusion that arises around multiple, fluid identities in an environment that is heavily polarised can create the very loss of freedom that it aims to defeat. New labels have emerged in the last three decades, labels which have put a strain on the feminist movement as it was traditionally conceived. Moreover, several scholars have underlined the schizophrenia of identities that have emerged ever since the end of the 20th century, a phenomenon that, as some authors claim, will undermine the very idea of what it means to be human. In such a chaotic situation, some suggest a complete elimination of identities, while others advocate for the crystallisation of certain positions, especially in the world of politics. Many of the solutions proposed to ensure equality in Western societies in the face of a multitude of points of view often disregard the fundamental components of human nature — and of identity — which are both natural and artificial. A comprehensive approach must evaluate all sides of humanity. The fractured identities that seem to characterise the new millennium have also uncovered instances of inequality in many aspects of everyday life, from language to politics. These cultural and social biases prevent disadvantaged groups from fully enjoying their autonomy among their peers. Furthermore, they also hinder the adoption of laws that would eliminate the legal barriers to equality. Once the existence of an unbalanced power system is acknowledged, a system that gives power to a majority over a handful of minorities, it is important to generate acceptance besides tolerance, to make every citizen feel welcome in their own society.


equality; power; gender; autonomy; identity; feminism; queer; justice; representation; language; inclusivity; discrimination; speech

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.31312/2310-1245-2022-51-86-155


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