Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

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Harvard University Press, 2002 - Political Science - 379 pages
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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 he calls the "moral monism" of much of traditional moral philosophy, including contemporary liberalism--its tendency to assert that only one way of life or set of values is worthwhile and to dismiss the rest as misguided or false. He defends his pluralist perspective both at the level of theory and in subtle nuanced analyses of recent controversies. Thus, he offers careful and clear accounts of why cultural differences should be respected and publicly affirmed, why the separation of church and state cannot be used to justify the separation of religion and politics, and why the initial critique of Salman Rushdie (before a Fatwa threatened his life) deserved more serious attention than it received.

Rejecting naturalism, which posits that humans have a relatively fixed nature and that culture is an incidental, and "culturalism," which posits that they are socially and culturally constructed with only a minimal set of features in common, he argues for a dialogic interplay between human commonalities and cultural differences. This will allow, Parekh argues, genuinely balanced and thoughtful compromises on even the most controversial cultural issues in the new multicultural world in which we live.

  

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Contents

Moral Monism
16
Greek monism
19
Christian monism
23
Monism of classical liberalism
33
Locke
36
J S Mill
40
Critique of Monism
47
Forms of Pluralism
50
The Indian debate
191
The search for new political formations
193
The Political Structure of Multicultural Society
196
Modes of political integration
199
Common culture
219
Multicultural education
224
National identity
230
Conditions of success
236

Montesquieu
55
Herder
67
Misunderstanding culture
76
Contemporary Liberal Responses to Diversity
80
Rawls
81
Raz
90
Kymlicka
99
General comments
109
Conceptualizing Human Beings
114
Basis of cultural diversity
123
Pluralist universalism
126
Asian values
136
Understanding Culture
142
The dynamics of culture
151
Cultural community
154
Loyalty to culture
158
Cultural interaction
163
Cultural diversity
165
Evaluating cultures
172
Respecting cultures
176
Reconstituting the Modern State
179
The Canadian debate
185
Equality in a Multicultural Society
239
Equality of difference
243
Equal treatment
248
Contextualizing equality
249
Limits of equality
257
Implications
261
Logic of Intercultural Evaluation
264
Intercultural dialogue
268
Female circumcision and other practices
273
Polygamy
282
General observations
292
Politics Religion and Free Speech The Satanic Verses
295
Responses to Muslim protests
298
Logic of political discourse
304
Communal libel or group defamation
313
Free speech
317
Religion and public life
321
Conclusion
336
Notes
345
Bibliography
356
Index
368
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Bhikhu Parekh is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Hull. He is chair of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain.

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