Justifying Preferential Treatment - Preferential Policies in Theory and Reality

by Bruhagen, Åsa

Abstract (Summary)
Background and problem: It is important for a policy aiming at overcoming discrimination to be justifiable as just or as creating justice. When a policy is implemented lacking such qualities it is argued to be unjust, which creates a problem. During the last decades there has been massive immigration to the Western countries from countries marked by war and disaster. This has created problems of integration into the “new” society, and the use of preferential policies has become increasingly topical. Whether or not the use of preferential policies is a just method is the basis of this thesis.Aim: The aim of this thesis is to study the concept of preferential policies in an impartial perspective of fairness. By impartial it is meant to present facts speaking both for and against preferential policies as being just. The main question of this thesis is whether or not preferential treatment is a just method to create equality within the society.Method: A research method of textual analysis has been used combined with an analysis of structure of arguments.Theoretical framework: First, definitions of discrimination and preferential policies as such are focused upon in the third chapter. Second, the concept of social justice and its connection to preferential policies is treated. The question if preferential policies should be directed towards individuals or groups is a central question in the debate and it will demand its space in this thesis. Here the importance of merit will be discussed. The section about individuals and groups will be followed by a section discussing the importance of ethnic diversity which will be followed by a comparison of the development of preferential policies in the USA and Sweden. Last, there will be a section where an attempt to generalize between arguments is made.Conclusions and Discussion: In this part a conclusion and a discussion will be presented. Here conclusions will be drawn from the gathered material. Finally there will be a discussion on the subject and of how the research procedure has proceeded.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:preferential policies affirmative action positive equality reverse discrimination equal opportunities


Date of Publication:05/09/2006

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