×Toggle helper textThis website uses cookies. By using our website and agreeing to our cookies policy, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with the. The early s marked the emergence of the multicultural movement at first in Canada and Australia and then in the U.S.A., U.K., Germany and elsewhere. Bhikhu Parekh argues for a pluralist perspective on cultural diversity. Writing from both within the liberal tradition and outside of it as a critic, he challenges what.

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However, they can be defined in several different ways, of which the liberal is only one and not always the most coherent. Liberalism, for example, is an inspiring political doctrine stressing such great values as human dignity, autonomy, liberty, critical thought and equality.

Rethinking Multiculturalism – Bhikhu Parekh – Macmillan International Higher Education

Political doctrines are ways of structuring political life and do not offer a comprehensive philosophy of life. He seems to take the rather naive liberal view that the dominant group can be rationally persuaded to change its view of them by intellectual arguments and moral appeals.

It is caused by, among other things, the manner in which the wider society defines itself, the demeaning ways in which the rest of its members talk about these groups, and the dismissive or patronizing ways in which they treat them.

All claims that a particular institution or way of thinking or living is perfect, the best, or necessitated by human nature itself appear incoherent and even bizarre, for it goes against our well-considered conviction that all ways of thought and life are inherently limited and cannot embody the full range of the richness, complexity and grandeur of human existence.

He was elected British Asian of Rethinkint book addresses several topics, primarily multicultural politics, as well as the practice and theory behind addressing these politics.

They do and should matter to each other because they are bonded together by the ties of common interest and attachment. Its central insights are three, each of which is sometimes misinterpreted by its advocates and needs to be carefully reformulated if it is to carry conviction.

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

Rethinnking the multicultural movement sprang up unplanned in many different political contexts, attracted a diverse cluster of groups, and has so far failed to throw up a coherent philosophical statement of its central principles, it lacks a clear focus and identity.


The Constitution presupposed a much higher rate of economic growth and a much greater degree of equitable distribution of resources among the diverse communities than has proved to be the case. Cultural Diversity and Political Theory”. A dialogue between cultures requires that each should be willing to open itself up to the influence of and learn from others, and this presupposes that it is self-critical and willing and able to engage in a dialogue multicuoturalism itself.

From a multiculturalist perspective the good society cherishes the diversity of and encourages a creative dialogue between its different cultures and their moral visions.

Although members of these groups are in principle free to participate in its public life, they often stay away for fear of rejection and ridicule or out of a deep sense of alienation. While different citizens would develop different emotions towards their community, what is necessary to sustain it and can legitimately be expected of them is a basic commitment to its integrity and well-being, what one might call patriotism or political loyalty.

Bhikhu Parekh, What is multiculturalism

Guided by such loyalty, they might criticise their form of government, institutions, policies, values, ethos and dominant self understanding in the strongest possible terms if they think that these harm its survival and well-being.

And even so far as political life is concerned, they need to be interpreted and defined in the light of the wider culture and the unique history and political circumstances of the community concerned. When we view the world from its vantage point, our attitudes to ourselves and others undergo profound changes. I would therefore like to begin by clarifying what it means and stands for, and then briefly highlight some of the problems facing a multicultural society.

If some groups in it wish to lead self-contained lives and avoid interaction with others, it should respect their choices so long as they meet the consensually derived basic conditions of the good life. Views Read Edit View history. Since each defines its identity in terms of its differences from others or what it is not, it feels threatened by them and seeks to safeguard its integrity by resisting their influences and even avoiding all contacts with them.

A multicultural society cannot be stable and last long without developing a common sense of belonging among its citizens. Second, different cultures represent different systems of meaning and visions of the good life.


And we remain equally sceptical of all attempts to present it as one whose origins lie within itself, as self-generating and sui generis, for we feel persuaded that all cultures are born out of interaction with and absorb the influences of others and are shaped by wider economic, political and other forces. The new second edition includes a substantial additional chapter addressing key issues.

T he political context in which the Constitution was drafted has however altered considerably. This page was last edited on 18 Novemberat Other disagreement stems from Parekh’s inability to address concepts of democracy, liberalism, citizenship and nation being from anywhere other than western politics.

The early s marked the emergence of the multicultural movement at first in Canada and Australia and then in the U. It took full account of religious and a rather limited account of cultural diversity, but none of ethnic self assertion.

He was elected British Asian of the Year in and received the BBC’s award for special lifetime achievement in A political theorist of international renown he has held visiting chairs at many of the top US universities as well as in Vienna and Barcelona.

Nor does it mean that all cultures are equally rich and deserve equal respect, that each of them is good for its members, or that they cannot be compared and critically assessed.

In it, Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural diversity. The core of the book addresses the important theoretical questions raised by contemporary multicultural society, especially the nature and limits of intercultural equality and fairness, national identity, citizenship, and cross-cultural political discourse.

Parekh’s text was criticized from other cultural authors based on his opinions in the book. Citizenship is about status and rights; belonging is about acceptance, feeling welcome, a sense of identification.