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Book Chapter

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This chapter first analyzes the limits of the civil rights/compliance framework as an overarching change theory for transforming institutions and systems, and then sketches out the features of a full participation framework grounded in a collective-impact approach to reducing structural inequality. Full participation is a framework that nests antidiscrimination within an affirmative vision connected to a theory of action, and a methodology aimed at systems change. It resonates with a wide range of emerging scholarship and activism aimed at advancing equality under conditions of complexity, changing demographics, decentered governance, privatization, and technological change. The framework draws on insights from extensive and ongoing field research, conducted by the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, on the strategies and frameworks used in innovative initiatives taking a systemic approach to advancing equality. It integrates this practice-based knowledge with insights from cutting-edge, multidisciplinary scholarship on the multilevel dynamics affecting levels of engagement and participation by different groups. Most of this field research has been in the area of education and public employment, and thus, most of the illustrations of the ideas presented here will be in those areas. However, the research suggests that these ideas have broader applicability. The chapter identifies the features and potential of this framework, and considers its implications for public policy, law, and advocacy.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law