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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]

Affirmative Action

Inês Espinhaço Gomes

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 10 April 2021

Subject(s):
Gender discrimination — Equality regardless of race — Equality — Affirmative action — Racial discrimination — Ethnic minorities

General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.
Managing Editor: Ana Harvey

1 Affirmative action usually refers to laws, practices, and policies that aim at bringing members of an underrepresented group to a higher level of participation (Greenawalt 17). Its purpose may be seen from two perspectives: either backward-looking affirmative action as a means to compensate past discrimination (deontological arguments), or forward-looking affirmative action as a way of building a better future (utilitarian arguments) (Stroud 386). Hence, affirmative action may either redress past or actual disadvantages faced by some groups of people on the...
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