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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 17 No 2 (2000) Explorations on Law and Disability in Australia

Neo-Liberalism, Discrimination and the Politics of 'Ressentiment'

Margaret Thornton

Thornton considers the effect on anti-discrimination legislation of changes in the contemporary political climate. With particular regard to disability discrimination, Thornton contrasts social liberalism with neo-liberalism and outlines the tenor of changes that have occurred. She suggests that the contradictions of liberalism produce a Nietzschean notion of ressentiment, which is reflected in responses to discrimination. Although ostensibly negative and corrosive, it is argued that ressentiment also has a positive dimension for people with disabilities, as formal challenge requires courage which can be understood as a performative dimension of citizenship.

(2000) 17(2) Law in Context 8
Keywords: Equality before the Law; Discrimination

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