Multiculturalism : Multiculturalism and Politics

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  • Multiculturalism and Politics
    • Liberal Multiculturalism
      • Deep diversity - Diversity that rejects the idea of objective or ‘absolute’ standards and so is based on moral relativism.
      • Liberal multiculturalism is difference blind as there are factors such religion, ethnicity, culture, race and gender that are irrelevant because all people should be evaluated as morally autonomous individuals.
      • Liberal universalism is the belief that certain values are applicable to all individuals and societies regardless of any culture.
      • Liberal cannot endorse deep diversity, as tolerance is not morally neutral and only provides a limited endorsement and cultural diversity. Liberals will only endorse ideas and views that they deem tolerant and are compatible with freedom and autonomy.
      • Liberal multiculturalism make cultural identity a private matter as in the private sphere people are free to practice religion, where as in the public sphere people should support state and societal rules regardless of rules.
      • Liberal multiculturalists believe integration works better than diversity as giving people rights allows them to feel less ostracised and therefore more coherent in society. They believe liberal democracy should be the sole legitimate political system as it ensures that the government is based on the consent of the people therefore ensuring political freedom. (Can lead to tyranny of the majority)
      • If groups do not promote tolerance and respect they can pass legislation to band groups such as religious fundamentalist or extreme political parties (national action)
    • Pluralist Multicultralism
      • People are bound to disagree about the ultimate aims of life, as it is not possible to display the superiority of one system over another, as values conflict, it is met with moral conflict. Western and liberal values support personal freedom and toleration; let and let live. Only with a society that respects individual liberty can pluralism be contained.
      • Counter to liberal ideas that certain values are applicable to all, Parekh believed cultural diversity at the heart is a reflection and interplay between human nature and culture. Behaviours and ways of life are shaped by groups to the fact that any culture only provides only a part of what it is to be human. This provides basis for political recognition.
      • However this goes past and beyond liberalism which only gives expression to certain aspects of human nature, this can be seen as pluralist multiculturalism.
      • Particularist multiculturalists believe that cultural diversity takes place within the context of unequal power because certain groups have traditionally enjoyed advantages and privileges that have been denied to other groups. Particularist multiculturalism is clearly aligned to the needs and interests of marginalised groups.
      • The plight of such groups tends to be explained by the corrupt and corrupting values of western culture. Western values are associated with polluting society with inherent form of; racism, colonialism, materialism and permissiveness.
      • To redress this political imbalance they put an emphasis on cultural distinctiveness and a form of political resistance, this includes refusal to succumb to repression and corruption.
      • Plural monoculturalism is an emphasis on cultural purity, which extends to an unwillingness to engage in cultural exchange, this means concerns of civic cohesion; diversity may be expressed at demise of unity. Each group gravitates towards an indifferent communal ideal, which has less and less in common with other groups.
    • Cosmopolitan Multicultralism
      • Encourages people to adopt global consciousness that emphasises that ethical responsibility should not be confined by national borders. ‘Pix and Mix’ multiculturalism, with cultural exchange and cultural mixing is encouraged, while positively embracing hybridity. This is as it broadens normal and political sensitivities.
      • Pluralists strive for ‘strong’ diversity recognising legitimacy of non liberal values, liberals strive for diversity within a liberal democratic framework, whereas cosmopolitans strive for fluid and multiple identities that provide the basis of global citizenship, which is not a fixed set of ideas, or defined by beliefs.
      • Pluralists believe in ‘strong’ diversity, recognising legitimacy of non liberal and liberal views. Liberal multiculturalism believe diversity within a liberal democratic framework. Cosmopolitans believe in fluid and multiple identities provide the basis for global citizenship.
      • Both pluralists and liberal multiculturalists are both defined by their beliefs, cosmopolitans don't follow set or fixed ideas.
      • Hybridity - A condition of social and cultural mixing in which people develop multiple identities.
    • Critiques of multiculturalism
      • Conservatives respond to multiculturalism by including restrictions on migrants, especially from places where culture is different from the host culture. Placing pressures for assimilation to ensure minority ethnic communities are absorbed into the larger ‘national’ culture. The far right even want deportation of migrants to origin countries.
      • Amartya Sen criticizes multiculturalism as human identity is formed on the membership of a social subjects, this leads to cultural mono groups where people fail to recognise rights and integrity of people from other cultural groups. A kind of ‘ghettoization’, dismisses rather than broad and cross cultural understanding.
      • Liberals criticised multiculturalism as it can be a threat to individualism, as personal identity is embedded in a group on social identity. Multiculturalism is therefore just another form of collectivism, that subordinates the right and needs of individuals. This threatens individual freedom and personal self development, cultural belonging is a form of captivity.
      • Conservatives believe that multiculturalism creates implications for majority or host community, this is because multiculturalism perpetuates a new albeit ‘reverse’, set of injustices, by demeaning culture of majority group by associating it with colonialism and racism. At the same time favouring the citizens and culture of the minority groups through ‘positive’ discrimination, and the allocation of special rights.
      • Liberal multiculturalism condemn pluralists and especially pluralist multiculturalism for endorsing as legitimate ideas which they see as anti democratic and oppressive, such as theories of militant islam.
      • Conservatives criticised multiculturalism for a number of reasons; human beings are drawn to others who are similar to themselves, a fear and distrust of strangers of ‘foreigners’ is therefore natural and unavoidable. Because of this multiculturalism is inherently flawed, enitavebly fractured meaning conflict ridden societies will appear. ‘Diversity within unity’ is therefore a myth.


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