Richardson, Diane, McNulty, Ann and Monro, Surya (2011) Public Duty and Private Prejudice. In: Annual Association of American Geographers Conference 2011, 12th - 16th April 2011, Seattle, Washington, USA. (Unpublished)

Legislative and policy development in the formation of new sexualities equalities have prompted debate into the effects on social institutions like family and marriage, on belonging and identity, as well as governmentality, intersectionality and models of citizenship. Underlying these debates is the broader question of how in increasingly diverse/plural neoliberal democracies a model of universal citizenship based on equality as similitude can be maintained. As I argue, this involves a complex economy of 'seeing and not seeing' difference, where two forms of recognition are in play. Recognition of the right to belong and be assimilated into public life as part of the 'common good' and, at the same time, recognition of difference that is typically privatised. These policy shifts are, then, associated with a particular model of citizenship and 'politics of recognition', where there is an emphasis on individual and not group rights and the mobilisation of particular forms of governance of difference that perpetuate individualism. Linked to this, the making of citizens has become increasingly privatised, within a neoliberal discourse that depoliticizes as it individualises and privatizes. I consider how the implementation of sexualities equalities policies is related to processes of privatisation and individualisation. This is illustrated by drawing on findings from an ESRC funded study of LGBT equalities initiatives in the UK, which examined the views of those who now have a public duty to implement recent legislative and policy shifts and are obliged to develop equalities initiatives concerning 'sexual orientation' and gender reassignment.

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