Koen Slootmaeckers
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The attitudinal panopticon and the limited implementation of the anti-discrimination framework
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This chapter analysis the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation and its consequences for lived experiences. Building on the existing Europeanisation literature which has highlighted EU practices, and domestic institutional and political barriers as key explanations for limited implementation of new laws, the chapter argues that these are insufficient explanations to fully grasp why the anti-discrimination legislation remains weakly implemented. The chapter challenges the overly institution-focused analysis of the Europeanisation of fundamental rights. With its implicit assumption that (formal) compliance with EU rules and adoption of institutions eventually leads to social change, such institutional analysis ignores broader processes of social change. As such, the chapter takes a societal approach in its detailed analysis of the implementation gap of the Serbian LGBT-related anti-discrimination legislation. In particular, the chapter argues that the social environment in which these laws operate creates its own barriers for individuals to exercise their rights. Indeed, in the case of anti-discrimination legislation, the social environment has shown to constitute an attitudinal panopticon where people who are different from the norm self-regulate their actions to avoid becoming too visible, which would lead to increased discrimination. The lack of social change becomes a disciplining environment in which people whose rights have been violated are prevented from seeking justice out of fear of further and more severe violations of their rights.

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