Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-pkshj Total loading time: 0.399 Render date: 2021-12-03T11:53:48.447Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

5 - Public Opinion and Multiculturalism’s Guiding Norms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2014

Jack Citrin
University of California, Berkeley
David O. Sears
University of California, Los Angeles
Get access


In the preceding chapter, we saw that only a small minority in each ethnic group viewed America (or Los Angeles) as a cauldron in which irreconcilable ethnic conflicts boiled and bubbled. However, in establishing the general acceptance of the feasibility and desirability of e pluribus unum, we did not directly assess public opinion about the main principles of multiculturalism as a political ideology. In reviewing the many variants of multiculturalism in the scholarly literature, we distinguished among three components: a theory of personal identity, an image of the political community, and a set of policies designed to implement the normative commitment to the official recognition, representation, and protection of minority groups and their cultures.

In this chapter, we turn to public opinion about these core commitments to group-conscious principles. First, should society recognize an official responsibility for sustaining ethnic diversity, in the sense of government support for the maintenance of cultural differences in the face of the ongoing pressures toward acculturation? We describe this domain as social multiculturalism. Second, should these underlying ideas about the value of preserving ethnic identities and supporting the maintenance of particular cultures on a basis of equality dictate a policy regime based on descriptive representation in domains ranging from politics and professional occupations to the content of education and other cultural areas? We describe this outlook as political multiculturalism.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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.)


Prentice, Deborah and Miller, Dale, eds., Cultural Divides: Understanding and Overcoming Group Conflict (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), 23–34
City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson and Co. 488 U.S. 469 (1989)
Le, Loan and Citrin, Jack, “Affirmative Action” in Persily, Nathaniel, Citrin, Jack, and Egan, Patrick J. eds., Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)Google Scholar
Pitkin, Hanna, The Concept of Representation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972)Google Scholar
Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Attorney General, et al. 570 U.S. (2013)
Guinier, Lani, The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995)Google Scholar
Kinder, Donald R., “Attitude and Action in the Realm of Politics,” in Handbook of Social Psychology, ed. Gilbert, Daniel, Fiske, Susan, and Lindzey, Gardner (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998), 778–867Google Scholar
Kinder, , “Belief Systems after Converse,” in Electoral Democracy, ed. McKuen, Michael and Rabinowitz, George. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000Google Scholar
Lewis-Beck, Michael S., et al. The American Voter Revisited (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hochschild, Jennifer, Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995)Google Scholar
Black, Earl and Black, Merle, The Rise of Southern Republicans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002)Google Scholar
Miller, Warren E. and Shanks, J. Merrill, The New American Voter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996)Google Scholar
Dawson, Michael C., Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)Google Scholar
Hyman, Herbert H. and Sheatsley, Paul B., “Attitudes toward Desegregation,” Scientific American 211 (1966): 16–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure 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 sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ 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

Send book to Dropbox

To send 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 sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Send book to Google Drive

To send 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 sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats