Rowena Robinson


This paper focuses on law and housing discrimination within the context of a sociological understanding of the cumulative disadvantageous effects of what are legally considered ‘private acts’. It therefore brings a distinct perspective to the examination of vertical versus horizontal rights. The paper particularly focuses on housing discrimination against Muslims in urban areas against the background of marginalisation, conflict, and violence. It seeks to think about housing segregation as both producing discrimination, targeted violence, economic inequality, and social exclusion as well as itself being a product of these factors. Public policy in the form of equal opportunities legislation has been the chosen instrument for tackling similar racial and ethnic discrimination in several countries worldwide. This paper argues that public activism could be significant in embedding values socially and making durable the legislation arising there from. At the same time, it calls on the notion of demosprudence to contend that in the context of deep-rooted structured inequalities, as the history of the US civil rights movement also shows, a primary judicial step triggered by the mechanism of social action litigation may be necessary.

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