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Stella Butler

Stella Butler


Total Article : 28

About Me:Sixth form student studying Politics, Biology and Psychology. I'm interested in a range of topics such as music, current affairs, women's issues and world politics.

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Is 'Multiculturalism' a Single Doctrine? Pt. 2

Is 'Multiculturalism' a Single Doctrine? Pt. 2

On the other side of the argument, multiculturalism could be deemed to not be a single doctrine due to the internal discrepancies over the extent diversity is implicated. Liberal multiculturalists tend to favour a form of ‘shallow’ diversity – which manifests itself in the formation of political, legal equality (formal equality) to provide the foundations for diversity to take root, but without actually enforcing it upon society. The tendency of liberal multiculturalists towards shallow equality comes from the liberal sentiment of ‘difference-blind’ – treating cultural factors as irrelevant because all people are morally autonomous and also the liberal tendency to only address the public sphere. Because of this, liberal multiculturalists sometimes emphasise the importance of a divorced citizenship from cultural identity – such as seen in the French secular system. Plural multiculturalists and particularist multiculturalists are driven towards ‘deep’ diversity – the enforcement of diversity throughout society, in all aspects, which fundamentally disagrees with liberal multiculturalism. Plural and particularists illustrate their favouribility of deep diversity by their recognition of Kymlicka’s minority rights ideas. Kymlicka’s minority rights fall into three catergories, ‘poly-ethnic rights’ that seek to bridge the gap between the law of the dominant culture and minority groups’ cultural practices. In practice, this normally manifests itself as legal exemption, such as the exemption of Jews and Muslims from animal slaughter laws in Britain. ‘Representation rights’ which refer to the encouragement of minority groups into disproportionately filled roles in society such as politics or academia, and finally ‘self-government rights’ which refer to territorially concentrated minorities and awards them devolved powers or even secession – such as in Nunavut, Canada. The enforced of deep diversity favoured by pluralist and particularist multiculturalists is fundamentally different from the shallow form of diversity allowed for by liberal multiculturalists – suggesting multiculturalism has a at least two discrepant doctrines within it.


Multicularism could also be deemed to not exist as a single doctrine due to the mutual exclusion of communitarianism by the hybrid-fluid identity ideas from Cosmopolitan multiculturalists. Traditionally, multiculturalists have always held communitarianism as paramount; the idea that individuals cannot be separated from their cultural context in order to be understood rings true with all multiculturalists and so it would appear it supports the idea of multiculturalism as a single doctrine. However, cosmopolitan multiculturalists synthesised a new idea, which they favour over communitarianism – it comes in the form of hybridity. Hybridity is the idea that cultural mixing is desirable, and instead of the fixed, deeply embedded nature of identity in culture, they suggested the idea that identity is fluid, mouldable and responsive to personal needs. Jeremy Waldron describes identity in modern society as a ‘melange’ – a pick ‘n’ mix of a variety of different cultures. The discrepancies between the basis of identity act as an argument in favour of why multiculturalism is not a single doctrine.


Finally, multiculturalism cannot be a single doctrine due to the fact that multiculturalists disagree over the ends of the implication of multiculturalism. Particularist multiculturalists and their favourability of deep diversity have earned a reputation for desiring a form of ‘plural monoculturalism’, where many different cultures co-exist peacefully, but very separately – leading to a society where diversity is held paramount at the expense of unity. This is different to the liberal multiculturalist’s ideal society – which would be a united, single culture in the public sphere and diversity / cultural expression to be limited to the private sphere, leading to a society where unity is held paramount at the expense of diversity. Because of this difference in desired ends of a multiculturalist society, multiculturalism as an ideology cannot be said to only be a single doctrine.


To conclude, multiculturalism has many aspects that show it to be a single doctrine: the importance of diversity, the recognition of identity politics as a factors in understanding society and the subscription to value pluralism to name a few. But there are also many discrepancies within the ideology which lead to the belief that multiculturalism is not a single doctrine – the difference in understanding of the basis of identity between communitarianism and cosmopolitan multiculturalism and the discrepancies between ideal ends of a multiculturalist society are some examples.


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