A Noble Cause: A Case Study of Discrimination, Symbols and Reciprocity
Diversity and European Human Rights, Eva Brems, ed. Cambridge University Press, 2013
17 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2013
This chapter is part of a volume dedicated to rewriting human rights cases issued by the European Court of Human Rights. It uses the case of De La Cierva Osorio De Moscoso v. Spain (1999) as a platform to discuss the inherent tension typifying signs such as nobility titles – as merely symbolic or as carrying substantive content. The problem of one’s ownership of signs is especially acute in the case of women. I will argue that the distinction between form and substance collapses in this case, as in many other cases that involve allocation of allegedly merely symbolic signifiers – particularly to underprivileged groups. Moreover, I will examine the idea that a party that presents an antidiscrimination claim cannot seek equal allocation of matters that are in themselves inherently discriminatory. This fascinating characteristic of nobility titles – as relics of an old world of rank and social hierarchy – is one of the reasons that the applicants' discrimination claim was rebutted. I dub such claims ‘reciprocal antidiscrimination arguments,’ or RADARs, and sketch guidelines for thinking about this type of claims.
Keywords: Gender, Semiotics, Symbolic Identity, Names, Equality, Discrimination, ECHR, ECtHR
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