GV4D7      Half Unit
Dilemmas of Equality

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sarah Goff


This course is available on the MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Human Rights and MSc in Political Theory. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Other students may take the course with the approval of the course organiser.

Course content

The course starts with why the general question of why (or if) equality matters. It then introduces some of the major debates in the contemporary egalitarian literature: equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome; equality of what; luck egalitarianism and the distributive paradigm. In the final section, it focuses on more specific issues and dilemmas. The topics addressed this year are whether affirmative action offends principles of equal treatment; whether gender 'choices' legitimate an unequal division of labour; and who carries responsibility for addressing global inequality.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will submit a short formative essay (up to 1,000 words) and will be given feedback on this before submitting their assessed coursework

Indicative reading

Elizabeth Anderson 'What is the Point of Equality?' Ethics, 109, 1999; G A Cohen If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're so Rich? (Harvard University Press, 2000); Ronald Dworkin Sovereign Virtue: the Theory and Practice of Equality (Harvard University Press, 2000); Nancy Fraser and Kevin Olson (eds) Adding Insult to Injury (Verso, 2009); Anne Phillips Which Equalities Matter? (Polity, 1999), Chris Armstrong, Rethinking Equality (Manchester University Press, 2006).


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication