The demand for equality is central to modern politics. But whatexactly do we mean by equality? Does it threaten other importantvalues? Is it a demand we should support or question?
This highly accessible book provides an engaging introduction tothe concept of equality and to the debates, historical andcontemporary, that surround it. It explains and criticallyconsiders how the demand for equality arises in differentspheres.
In the political sphere, it explores the relationship betweenequality and democracy. In the economic and social spheres, itexplores the ideal of meritocracy and more radical theories ofegalitarian justice developed in the works of John Rawls and RonaldDworkin. In the legal sphere, the book discusses the challengesthat feminism and multiculturalism pose to conventional conceptionsof equal citizenship.
It concludes with an examination of whether equality should goglobal, and by analyzing contemporary arguments for and against thecontinuing relevance of equality to the political life of affluentdemocracies. Throughout, the book considers the tensions internalto the demand for equality and between equality and other importantvalues such as liberty and efficiency.
Drawing on political philosophy, sociology and the history ofpolitical thought, the book will be of interest to students andresearchers in philosophy and the social sciences and anyoneinterested in the values that animate democratic politicallife.