Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction

Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction

Ali Rattansi

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 0199546037

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this Very Short Introduction, Ali Rattansi provides a balanced assessment of what's true and what's false about multiculturalism. Rattansi provides a useful definition of the word "multiculturalism" and he looks at how the term is used--and misused--in political debate, public policy, and within the educational arena, presenting a balanced and comprehensive view of all the opinions surrounding this controversial subject. Dispelling many myths in the process, he warns of the dangers that lurk in an uncritical endorsement of multiculturalism, and concludes by arguing that the time has come to move on to a form of "interculturalism."

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Portugal throughout the period before the end of the Second World War. These waves of immigration had two features that distinguished them from the flows that started from the former French colonies of North Africa after 1945. Firstly, the European immigrants were not racialized and therefore were not regarded as posing any problems of assimilation. This allowed France to continue regarding itself as a country in which immigration played no part in its self-identity. Secondly, the Communist Party

communities, and in the multicultural policies that had supposedly allowed them for too long to segregate themselves and develop dysfunctional social habits without adequate supervision and pressure from local and central authorities. In particular, the reports tended to simply list a variety of causal factors without being able to give weighting, for example, to de-industrialization, unemployment, and racial discrimination in housing and employment, as opposed to a desire to live amongst

1. Communitarianism Communitarianism had emerged in the 1990s as a sort of ‘third way’ perspective, critical of both the new Right and the Left for dissolving the ‘social glue’ that had held locales and society as a whole together. The former was blamed for the excesses of free-market individualism and libertarianism which had helped erode ethics of social responsibility and norms of reciprocity, epitomized in Mrs Thatcher’s notorious ‘there is no such thing as society’ nostrum. The Left

that the reports – together with numerous other studies – identified racial discrimination in the public and private sectors as important contributory factors to the employment and housing situation of the minorities. All the Western European countries are characterized by high levels of ethnic minority youth unemployment and overall levels of poverty. But there are variations, and they do not correlate with the adoption of multicultural policies. The UK, Germany, and Austria have a better

(and justified global domination) of the West, now led by the USA, asserts that democracy, tolerance, freedom, the rule of law, egalitarianism, conceptions of human rights, individualism, scientific rationality, humanism, even towns, universities, and the idea of romantic love, are all uniquely Western. They have emerged, so the argument goes, from a unique concatenation of ancient Greece and Rome (classical Antiquity), Christianity (especially the Protestant Reformation), the European

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