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From Protecting to Promoting: Evolving EU Sex Equality Norms in an Organisational Field

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This paper builds on a process–oriented approach which examines constitutionalism with respect to both legislation and social practices. Drawing on the institutionalist concept of the organisational field it provides tools for explaining the emergence of the distinct connectedness and isomorphism of European sex equality norms. The paper elucidates the shifting meaning of sex equality in the field of employment on the one hand, as it demonstrates the close ties between sex equality law and the constitutional status of gender norms on the other. Contrary to both the intergovernmentalist and neo–functionalist approaches in European integration studies, the concept of ‘institutionalist field’ allows for explication of shifting institutional demands that work beyond the rational interests of the nation–state. The field approach thus emphasises the interrelation between legal and political actors and their respective shared cognition which defines what bears meaning.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Erfurt, Germany

Publication date: February 1, 2003


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