Thursday, September 24, 2020

Multiculturalism Political Theory


Multiculturalism Political Theory, The idea of multiculturalism in contemporary political discourse and in political philosophy reflects a debate about the way to understand and answer the challenges related to cultural diversity supported ethnic, national, and non secular differences.

The term “multicultural” is usually used as a descriptive term to characterize the very fact of diversity during a society, but in what follows, the main target is on multiculturalism as a normative ideal within the context of Western liberal democratic societies. While the term has come to encompass a spread of normative claims and goals, it's fair to mention that proponents of multiculturalism find footing in rejecting the perfect of the “melting pot” during which members of minority groups are expected to assimilate into the dominant culture. Instead, proponents of multiculturalism endorse a perfect during which members of minority groups can maintain their distinctive collective identities and practices. within the case of immigrants, proponents emphasize that multiculturalism is compatible with, not against , the mixing of immigrants into society; multiculturalism policies provide fairer terms of integration for immigrants.

Modern states are organized round the language and culture of the dominant groups that have historically constituted them. As a result, members of minority cultural groups face barriers in pursuing their social practices in ways in which members of dominant groups don't . Some theorists argue for tolerating minority groups by leaving them freed from state interference (Kukathas 1995, 2003). Multiculturalism Political Theory, Others argue that mere toleration of group differences falls in need of treating members of minority groups as equals; what's required is recognition and positive accommodation of minority group practices through what the leading theorist of multiculturalism Will Kymlicka has called “group-differentiated rights” (1995). Some group-differentiated rights are held by individual members of minority groups, as within the case of people who are granted exemptions from generally applicable laws in virtue of their religious beliefs or individuals who seek language accommodations in education and in voting. Other group-differentiated rights are held by the group qua group rather by its members severally; such rights are properly called “group rights,” as within the case of indigenous groups and minority nations, who claim the proper of self-determination. within the latter respect, multiculturalism is closely allied with nationalism.

Multiculturalism is a component of a broader movement for greater inclusion of marginalized groups, including African Americans, women, LGBTQ people, and other people with disabilities (Glazer 1997, Hollinger 1995, Taylor 1992). This broader movement is reflected within the “multiculturalism” debates within the 1980s over whether and the way to diversify school curricula to acknowledge the achievements of historically marginalized groups. But the more specific focus of up to date theories of multiculturalism is that the recognition and inclusion of minority groups defined primarily in terms of ethnicity, nationality, and religion. Multiculturalism Political Theory, the most concern of up to date multiculturalism are immigrants who are ethnic and non secular minorities (e.g. Latinx people within the U.S., Muslims in Western Europe), minority nations (e.g. the Basque, Catalans, Québécois, Welsh) and indigenous peoples (e.g. Native peoples and indigenous groups in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand).

The claims of multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is closely related to “identity politics,” “the politics of difference,” and “the politics of recognition,” all of which share a commitment to revaluing disrespected identities and changing dominant patterns of representation and communication that marginalize certain groups (Gutmann 2003, Taylor 1992, Young 1990). Multiculturalism involves not only claims of identity and culture as some critics of multiculturalism suggest. it's also a matter of economic interests and political power: it includes demands for remedying economic and political disadvantages that folks suffer as a results of their marginalized group identities.

Multiculturalists deem granted that it's “culture” and “cultural groups” that are to be recognized and accommodated. Yet multicultural claims include a good range of claims involving religion, language, ethnicity, nationality, and race.

Culture may be a contested, open-ended concept, and every one of those categories are subsumed by or equated with the concept of culture. Disaggregating and distinguishing among differing types of claims can clarify what's at stake (Song 2008). Multiculturalism Political Theory, Language and religion are at the guts of the many claims for cultural accommodation by immigrants. The key claim made by minority nations is for self-government rights. Race features a more limited role in multicultural discourse. Antiracism and multiculturalism are distinct but related ideas: the previous highlights “victimization and resistance” whereas the latter highlights “cultural life, cultural expression, achievements, and therefore the like” (Blum 1992, 14). Claims for recognition within the context of multicultural education are demands not only for recognition of aspects of a group’s actual culture (e.g. African American art and literature) but also for acknowledgment of the history of group subordination and its concomitant experience (Gooding-Williams 1998).

Examples of cultural accommodations or “group-differentiated rights” include exemptions from generally applicable law (e.g. religious exemptions), assistance to try to to things that members of the bulk culture are already enabled to try to to (e.g. multilingual ballots, funding for minority language schools and ethnic associations, affirmative action), representation of minorities in government bodies (e.g. ethnic quotas for party lists or legislative seats, minority-majority Congressional districts), recognition of traditional legal codes by the dominant system (e.g. granting jurisdiction over family law to spiritual courts), or limited self-government rights (e.g. qualified recognition of tribal sovereignty, federal arrangements recognizing the political autonomy of Québec) (for a helpful classification of cultural rights, see Levy 1997).

Typically, a group-differentiated right may be a right of a minority group (or a member of such a group) to act or not act during a certain way in accordance with their religious obligations and/or cultural commitments.

Multiculturalism Political Theory, In some cases, it's a right that directly restricts the liberty of non-members so as to guard the minority group’s culture, as within the case of restrictions on the utilization of English language in Québec. When the right-holder is that the group, the proper may protect group rules that restrict the liberty of individual members, as within the case of the Pueblo membership rule that excludes the youngsters of girls who marry outside the group. Now that you simply have a way of the sorts of claims that are made within the name of multiculturalism, we will now address consider different normative justifications for these claims.

Justifications for multiculturalism


One justification for multiculturalism arises out of the communitarian critique of liberalism. Liberals tend to be ethical individualists; they insist that individuals should be liberal to choose and pursue their own conceptions of the great life. they provide primacy to individual rights and liberties over community life and collective goods. Some liberals also are individualists when it involves social ontology (what some call methodological individualism or atomism).

Methodological individualists believe that you simply can and will account for social actions and social goods in terms of the properties of the constituent individuals and individual goods. Multiculturalism Political Theory, The target of the communitarian critique of liberalism isn't such a lot liberal ethics as liberal social ontology. Communitarians reject the thought that the individual is before the community which the worth of social goods are often reduced to their contribution to individual well-being. They instead embrace ontological holism, which acknowledges collective goods as, in Charles Taylor’s words, “irreducibly social”and intrinsically valuable (Taylor 1995).

An ontologically holist view of collective identities and cultures underlies Taylor’s argument for a “politics of recognition.” Drawing on Rousseau, Herder, and Hegel, among others, Taylor argues that we don't become full human agents and define our identity in isolation from others; rather, “we define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the items our significant others want to ascertain in us” (1994, 33). Because our identities are formed dialogically, we are hooked in to the popularity of others.

The absence of recognition or mis-recognition can cause serious injury: “A person or a gaggle of individuals can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves” (25). Multiculturalism Political Theory, The struggle for recognition can only be satisfactorily resolved through “a regime of reciprocal recognition among equals” (50). Taylor distinguishes the politics of recognition from the normal liberal “politics of equal respect” that's “inhospitable to difference, because (a) it insists on uniform application of the principles defining these rights, without exception, and (b) it's suspicious of collective goals” (60). against this , the politics of recognition is grounded on “judgments about what makes an honest life—judgments during which the integrity of cultures has a crucial place” (61). He discusses the instance of the survival of French culture in Quebec. The French language isn't merely a collective resource that individuals might want to form use of and thereby seek to preserve, as suggested by a politics of equal respect. Instead, the French language is an irreducibly collective good that itself deserves to be preserved: language policies aimed toward preserving the French language in Québec “actively seek to make members of the community” by assuring that future generations still identify as French-speakers (58). due to the indispensable role of cultures within the development human agency and identity, Taylor argues, we should always adopt the presumption of the equal worth of all cultures (66).


A second justification for multiculturalism comes from within liberalism but a liberalism that has been revised through critical engagement with the communitarian critique of liberalism. Will Kymlicka has developed the foremost influential liberal theory of multiculturalism by marrying the liberal values of autonomy and equality with an argument about the worth of cultural membership (1989, 1995, 2001).

instead of beginning with intrinsically valuable collective goals and goods as Taylor does, Kymlicka views cultures as instrumentally valuable to individuals, for 2 main reasons. First, cultural membership is a crucial condition of private autonomy. Multiculturalism Political Theory, In his first book, Liberalism, Community, and Culture (1989), Kymlicka develops his case for multiculturalism within a Rawlsian framework of justice, viewing cultural membership as a “primary good,” things that each rational person is presumed to require and which are necessary for the pursuit of one’s goals (Rawls 1971, 62).

In his later book, Multicultural Citizenship (1995), Kymlicka drops the Rawlsian scaffolding, relying instead on the work of Avishai Margalit and Joseph Raz on national self-determination (1990). One important condition of autonomy has an adequate range of options from which to settle on (Raz 1986). Cultures function “contexts of choice,” which give meaningful options and scripts with which individuals can frame, revise, and pursue their goals (Kymlicka 1995, 89). Second, cultural membership plays a crucial role in people’s self-identity. Citing Margalit and Raz also as Taylor, Kymlicka views cultural identity as providing people with an “anchor for his or her self-identification and therefore the safety of effortless secure belonging” (1995, 89, quoting Margalit and Raz 1990, 448 and also citing Taylor 1992). this suggests there's a deep and general connection between a person’s self-respect and therefore the respect accorded to the cultural group of which she may be a part. it's not simply membership in any culture but one’s own culture that has got to be secured so as for cultural membership to function a meaningful context of choice and a basis of self-respect.

Kymlicka moves from these premises about the instrumental value of cultural membership to the egalitarian claim that because members of minority groups are disadvantaged in terms of access to their own cultures (in contrast to members of the bulk culture), they're entitled to special protections.

Multiculturalism Political Theory, it's important to notice that Kymlicka’s egalitarian argument for multiculturalism rests on a theory of equality that critics have dubbed “luck egalitarianism” (Anderson 1999, Scheffler 2003). consistent with luck egalitarians, individuals should be held liable for inequalities resulting from their own choices, but not for inequalities deriving from unchosen circumstances (Dworkin 1981; Rakowski 1993).

The latter inequalities are the collective responsibility of citizens to deal with . for instance , inequalities stemming from one’s social starting position in life are unchosen yet so strongly determine our prospects in life. Luck egalitarians argue that those born into poor families are entitled to collective support and assistance via a redistributive tax scheme. Kymlicka adds cultural membership to the present list of unchosen inequalities. If one is born into the dominant culture of society, one enjoys good brute luck, whereas those that belong to minority cultures suffer disadvantages in virtue of the bad brute luck of their minority status. Insofar as inequality in access to cultural membership stems from luck (as against individual choices) and one suffers disadvantages as a results of it, members of minority groups can reasonably demand that members of the bulk culture must share in bearing the prices of accommodation. Minority group rights are justified, as Kymlicka argues, “within a liberal egalitarian theory…which emphasizes the importance of rectifying unchosen inequalities” (Kymlicka 1995, 109).

One might question whether cultural minority groups really are “disadvantaged” and thereby, owed positive accommodations. Why not just enforce antidiscrimination laws, stopping in need of any positive accommodations for minority groups? Kymlicka and other liberal theorists of multiculturalism contend that antidiscrimination laws come short of treating members of minority groups as equals; Multiculturalism Political Theory, this is often because states can't be neutral with reference to culture. In culturally diverse societies, we will easily find patterns of state support for a few cultural groups over others. While states may prohibit racism and avoid official establishment of any religion, they can't avoid establishing one language for public schooling and other state services (language being a paradigmatic marker of culture) (Kymlicka 1995, 111; Carens 2000, 77–78; Patten 2001, 693). Linguistic advantage translates into economic and political advantage since members of the dominant cultural community have a leg up in schools, the workplace, and politics. Linguistic advantage also takes a symbolic form. When state action extends symbolic affirmation to some groups and not others by adopting a specific language or by organizing the work week and public holidays round the calendar of particular religions, it's a normalizing effect, suggesting that one group’s language and customs are more valued than those of other groups.

In addition to state support of certain cultures over others, state laws may place constraints on some cultural groups over others. Consider the case of code regulations publicly schools or the workplace. A ban on religious dress burdens religious individuals, as within the case of Simcha Goldman, a U.S. Air Force officer, who was also an ordained rabbi and wished to wear a yarmulke out of reference to an omnipresent God (Goldman v. Weinberger, 475 US 503 (1986)). The case of the French state’s ban on religious dress publicly schools, which burdens Muslim girls who wish to wear headscarves to high school , is another example (Bowen 2007, Laborde 2008). Multiculturalism Political Theory, Religion may command that believers dress during a certain way (what Peter Jones calls an “intrinsic burden”), not that believers refrain from attending school or getting to work (Jones 1994). Yet, burdens on believers don't stem from the dictates of faith alone; they also arise from the intersection of the stress of faith and therefore the demands of the state (“extrinsic burden”). Individuals must bear intrinsic burdens themselves; bearing the burdens of the dictates of one’s faith, like prayer, worship, and fasting, just is a component of meeting one’s religious obligations. When it involves extrinsic burdens, however, liberal multiculturalists argue that justice requires assisting cultural minorities bear the burdens of those unchosen disadvantages.

It is important to notice that liberal multiculturalists distinguish among differing types of groups. as an example , Kymlicka’s theory develops a typology of various groups and differing types of rights for every . It offers the strongest sort of group-differentiated rights—self-government rights—to indigenous peoples and national minorities for the luck egalitarian reason that their minority status is unchosen: Multiculturalism Political Theory, they were coercively incorporated into the larger state. against this , immigrants are viewed as voluntary migrants: by choosing to migrate, they relinquished access to their native culture. Immigrant multiculturalism, what Kymlicka calls “polyethnic rights”, is known as a requirement for fairer terms of integration into the broader society through the granting of exemptions and accommodations, not a rejection of integration or a requirement for collective self-determination (1995, 113–115).

Freedom from domination

Another set of arguments for multiculturalism rests on the worth of freedom. Some theorists like Phillip Pettit (1997) and Quentin Skinner (1998) have developed the thought of freedom from domination by drawing on the civic republican tradition. Building on this line of argument to argue for recognition, Frank Lovett (2009) maintains that domination presents a significant obstacle to human flourishing. In contrast to the conception of freedom as non-interference dominant in liberal theory, freedom as non-domination, drawn from the civic republic tradition, focuses on a person’s “capacity to interfere, on an arbitrary basis, in certain choices that the opposite is during a position to make” (Pettit 1997, 52). On this view of freedom, we will be unfree even once we aren't experiencing any interference as within the case of a slave of a benevolent master. We are subject to domination to the extent that we are hooked in to another person or group who can arbitrarily exercise power over us (Pettit 1997, ch. 2).

Frank Lovett has explored the implications of the worth of freedom from domination for questions of multicultural accommodation (2010). Multiculturalism Political Theory, He begins from the premise that freedom from domination is a crucial human good which we've a clear obligation to scale back domination.

He argues that the state shouldn't accommodate social practices that directly involve domination. Indeed, if freedom from domination may be a priority, then one should “aim to bring such practices to an end as quickly as possible, despite any subjective value they happen to possess for his or her participants” (2010, 256). As for practices that don't involve subjecting individuals to domination, accommodation is permissible but not necessarily required. Accommodation is merely required if accommodation would advance the goal of reducing domination. He discusses one stylized example supported a well-known real-world case: the practice among Muslim women and girls of wearing headscarves. Suppose, Lovett suggests, an in depth study of a specific Muslim community during a liberal democratic society is undertaken and it reveals that women’s educational and employment opportunities are discouraged, generating “severe patriarchal domination,” but the study also shows that the practice of wearing headscarves doesn't (2010, 258). Lovett argues that the practice of wearing headscarves should be accommodated because failure to try to to so might strengthen the community’s commitment to other shared practices that reinforce patriarchal domination.

A key empirical assumption here is that combating patriarchal practices within minority communities would be easier if the burdens on more benign practices, like wearing headscarves, are lessened. Cecile Laborde’s analysis of the headscarf controversy in France provides support for this assumption: Multiculturalism Political Theory, the effect of preventing Muslim girls from wearing headscarves is to encourage their parents to withdraw their daughters from civic education and send them to spiritual schools where they might not be exposed to the range of world views found publicly schools. Formal restrictions on Muslim religious expression within the public sphere may make, in Laborde’s words, “members of dominated groups close ranks round the denigrated practice, precipitating a defensive retreat into conservative cultural forms and identities” (2008, 164).

Another situation during which accommodation is warranted on Lovett’s account is when individuals’ subjective attachment to particular practices makes them susceptible to exploitation. He discusses the case of Mexican immigrant laborers with limited English skills and limited knowledge of yank laws and policies. Lovett argues that extending “special public measures,” like exceptions to general rules and regulations and public legal assistance, is required insofar intrinsically measures would scale back the domination of those workers (2010, 260). In contrast to the communitarian or liberal egalitarian arguments considered above, the idea for the special accommodations isn't a desire to guard intrinsically valuable cultures or considerations of fairness or equality but the will to scale back domination.

Mira Bachvarova has also argued for the merits of a non-domination-based multiculturalism as compared to liberal egalitarian approaches. due to its specialise in the arbitrary use of power and therefore the broader structural inequalities within which groups interact, a non-domination approach could also be more sensitive to power dynamics in both inter-group and intra-group relations. Also, in contrast to approaches developed out of egalitarian theories of distributive justice that specialise in distributing differing types of rights, a non-domination approach focuses on the “moral quality of the connection between the central actors” and insists on continuity of treatment between and within groups (2014, 671).

Addressing historical injustice

Other theorists sympathetic to multiculturalism look beyond liberalism and republicanism, emphasizing instead the importance of grappling with historical injustice and taking note of minority groups themselves. this is often very true of theorists writing from a postcolonial perspective. for instance , Multiculturalism Political Theory, in contemporary discussions of aboriginal sovereignty, instead of making claims supported premises about the worth of Native cultures and their connection to individual members’ sense of self-worth as liberal multiculturalists have, the main target is on reckoning with history. Such proponents of indigenous sovereignty emphasize the importance of understanding indigenous claims against the historical background of the denial of equal sovereign status of indigenous groups, the dispossession of their lands, and therefore the destruction of their cultural practices (Ivison 2006, Ivison et al. 2000, Moore 2005, Simpson 2000).

Multiculturalism Political Theory, This background calls into question the legitimacy of the state’s authority over aboriginal peoples and provides a clear case for special rights and protections for indigenous groups, including the proper of self-government. Jeff Spinner-Halev has argued that the history of state oppression of a gaggle should be a key think about determining not only whether group rights should be extended but also whether the state should intervene within the internal affairs of the group when it discriminates against particular members of the group. for instance , “when an oppressed group uses its autonomy during a discriminatory way against women it cannot simply be forced to prevent this discrimination” (2001, 97). Oppressed groups that lack autonomy should be “provisionally privileged” over non-oppressed groups; this suggests that “barring cases of great physical harm within the name of a group’s culture, it's important to think about some sort of autonomy for the group” (2001, 97; cf. Spinner-Halev 2012).

Theorists adopting a postcolonial perspective transcend liberal multiculturalism toward the goal of developing models of constitutional and political dialogue that recognize culturally distinct ways of speaking and acting. Multicultural societies contains diverse religious and moral outlooks, and if liberal societies are to require such diversity seriously, they need to recognize that liberalism is simply one among many substantive outlooks supported a selected view of man and society. Multiculturalism Political Theory, Liberalism isn't freed from culture but expresses a particular culture of its own. This observation applies not only across territorial boundaries between liberal and nonliberal states, but also within liberal states and its relations with nonliteral minorities. James Tully has surveyed the language of historical and contemporary constitutionalism with attention on Western state’s relations with Native peoples to uncover more inclusive bases for intercultural dialogue (1995). Bhikhu Parekh contends that liberal theory cannot provide an impartial framework governing relations between different cultural communities (2000).

Multiculturalism As A Challenge To Traditional Liberalism

Multiculturalism stands as a challenge to liberal democracy. In liberal democracies, all citizens should be treated equally under the law by abstracting the common identity of “citizen” from the important social, cultural, political, and economic positions and identities of real members of society. That results in a bent to homogenize the collective of citizens and assume a standard political culture that each one participate in.

However, that abstract view ignores other politically salient features of the identities of political subjects that exceed the category of citizen, like race, religion, class, and sex. Although claiming the formal equality of citizens, the liberal democratic view tends to underemphasize ways during which citizens aren't actually equal in society.

instead of embracing the normal liberal image of the melting pot into which individuals of various cultures are assimilated into a unified national culture, multiculturalism generally holds the image of a salad to be more appropriate. Although being an integral and recognizable a part of the entire , diverse members of society can maintain their particular identities while residing within the collective.

Some more-radical multicultural theorists have claimed that some cultural groups need quite recognition to make sure the integrity and maintenance of their distinct identities and contributions. Multiculturalism Political Theory, additionally to individual equal rights, some have advocated for special group rights and autonomous governance surely cultural groups. Because the continued existence of protected minority cultures ultimately contributes to the great of all and therefore the enrichment of the dominant culture, those theorists have argued that the preserving of cultures that can't withstand the pressures to assimilate into a dominant culture are often given preference over the standard norm of equal rights for all.

Multiculturalism’s Impact On Education

Some samples of how multiculturalism has affected the social and political spheres are found in revisions of curricula, particularly in Europe and North America, and therefore the expansion of the Western literary and other canons that began during the half-moon of the 20th century. Curricula from the elementary to the university levels were revised and expanded to incorporate the contributions of minority and neglected cultural groups. That revision was designed to correct what's seemed to be a falsely Eurocentric perspective that overemphasizes the contributions of white European colonial powers and underemphasizes the contributions made by indigenous people and other people of colour. additionally thereto correction, the contributions that cultural groups have made during a sort of fields are added to curricula to offer special recognition for contributions that were previously ignored. Multiculturalism Political Theory, The establishment of African American History Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month within the us is an example of the movement. The addition of works by members of minority cultural groups to the canons of literary, historical, philosophical, and artistic works further reflects the will to acknowledge and include multicultural contributions to the broader culture as an entire .

Challenges To Multiculturalism

There are two primary objections to multiculturalism. One is that multiculturalism privileges the great of the certain groups over the commonweal , thereby potentially eroding the commonweal in favour of a minority interest. The second is that multiculturalism undermines the notion of equal individual rights, thereby weakening the political value of equal treatment.

Multiculturalism raises other questions. there's the question of which cultures are going to be recognized. Some theorists have worried that multiculturalism can cause a contest between cultural groups all vying for recognition which this may further reinforce the dominance of the dominant culture. Multiculturalism Political Theory, Further, the main target on cultural group identity may reduce the capacity for coalitional political movements which may develop across differences. Some Marxist and feminist theorists have expressed worry about the dilution of other important differences shared by members of a society that don't necessarily entail a shared culture, like class and sex.

Multicultural Politics

Multiculturalism is closely related to identity politics, or political and social movements that have group identity because the basis of their formation and therefore the focus of their political action. Those movements plan to further the interests of their group members and force issues important to their group members into the general public sphere. In contrast to multiculturalism, identity politics movements are supported the shared identities of participants instead of on a specifically shared culture. Multiculturalism Political Theory, However, both identity politics and multiculturalism have in common the demand for recognition and a redress for past inequities.

Multiculturalism raises important questions for citizens, public administrators, and political leaders. By posing for recognition of and respect for cultural differences, multiculturalism provides one possible response to the question of the way to increase the participation of previously oppressed groups.

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