Contextualised Equality and the Politics of Legal Mobilisation: Affirmative Action in Northern Ireland
AbstractThis article examines the development of affirmative action and equality policies targeted at the two main ethno-national communities in Northern Ireland, as an example of ‘contextualised equality’. The argument places particular weight on a politics of legal mobilisation. The article suggests that the ability to connect post-1998 reforms, in practical and symbolic ways, to overriding inter-communal narratives was often a determining factor in identifying those elements of the Good Friday Agreement which advanced, or were constructed as achievable. The argument has implications for understanding how equality debates will progress, and explaining why certain agendas appear to ‘succeed’ and others ‘fail’.