Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-vcb8f Total loading time: 0.302 Render date: 2022-10-02T08:08:54.899Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

eleven - The limits of compromise? Social justice, ‘race’ and multiculturalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2022

Get access

Summary

The idea of multiculturalism is now widely under attack. A former UK Home Secretary argues that Muslim women should be unveiled when consulting him as an MP as he wishes to see their face. In France, the wearing of the veil and other religious symbols has been forbidden at public schools; and in Canada, the Province of Ontario, having proposed a degree of autonomy to Muslims in the exercise of sharia law, have backtracked on that position under political pressure. The Dutch government has introduced a series of new policies that spell ‘the end of multiculturalism’ (Bader, 2005). In some quarters (see, for example, The Guardian, 29 January 2007) it has even been argued that multiculturalism has been responsible for the creation of suicide bombers.

This wide-ranging attack raises two important issues. One is that we need to recall that most national polities are now multicultural societies (some having been so for hundreds of years), that is, they have within their populations (a generally increasing number of) people whose national origins lie outside their present country of settlement and who bring differing cultural norms to the latter. A growing proportion of these people, however, have been born and bred in these countries of settlement (43% in the case of the UK) with – in theory at least – the same rights as those of their national majority peers. As Parekh (2000a) reminds us, whether people like it or not (and many politicians, most right-wing media and a body of public opinion apparently do not), multicultural societies are a fact of life and cannot be wished away – other than by the violence of ethnic cleansing. This fact of life, however, has yet to translate into truly multiculturalist policy frameworks.

The second, linked, issue is that the increasing number of those who now argue that multiculturalism has failed demonstrate little understanding of what a multiculturalist policy framework is trying to achieve. Currently, debates in the UK (and elsewhere) increasingly wind the clock back to what was known in the 1950s as an assimilationist policy; those immigrating to the UK were expected to leave their cultural baggage behind them as they arrived at the port of entry and become effectively black or brown Britons.

Type
Chapter
Information
Social Justice and Public Policy
Seeking Fairness in Diverse Societies
, pp. 231 - 250
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×