“Lobbying for intersectionality: Civil society organisations and the EU’s anti-discrimination policy” – 20 June 2024


Numerous civil society organisations (CSOs) have been involved in the design of European anti-discrimination norms and policy tools. This seminar focusses on the advocacy coalitions and knowledge networks created in the last decades at the initiative of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), together with several European NGOs and think tanks. The goal is to analyse the advocacy strategies of this coalition to put controversial policy issues on the EU’s agenda, like ethnic data collection, ethnic profiling, or islamophobia, but also to promote a specific approach to these issues: intersectionality.

We show how OSF allows CSOs to exist and professionalise, and subsequently to build their expert knowledge and make it visible in the EU policy-making process. OSF actively promotes “advocacy triangles” between academic, activist, and institutional actors, through which contentious causes gain in credibility and acceptability in the EU arena. We trace the creation of such triangles and the circulation of knowledge and norms from academic/activist realms to EU policy documents and actions, in particular in the case of intersectionality.

Oriane Calligaro is Associate Professor at ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille.