Reconstructing multiculturalism: picking up after the 'Fall'

Brechin, Jessie (2014) Reconstructing multiculturalism: picking up after the 'Fall'. LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis critically examines the criticism that has been levelled at normative multiculturalism and discusses a potential way in which multiculturalism can be reconstructed to better address the difficulties of a diverse population. Multiculturalism, principally liberal multiculturalism for the purposes of the current project, has been the subject of much criticism in recent years. Reconciling a liberal position based on the primacy of individual rights, with the protection of and rights of marginalised or otherwise vulnerable groups has proven difficult. Two key failings of the current liberal approach are identified. Firstly, there is a tendency to pursue a hands-off approach, whereby the state is reluctant to interfere in the affairs of minority groups, to the detriment of vulnerable internal minorities. Secondly the preoccupation with respect for difference and a ‘right to culture’ has lead to minority cultures being essentialised and concretised in a way that perpetuates existing power hierarchies within these groups as well as ignoring natural processes of cultural development and adaptation. Jacob Levy’s ‘Multiculturalism of Fear’ is considered. By placing the prevention of fear and humiliation above the preservation of the ‘right to culture’ Levy is able to circumvent the preoccupation with being seen to interfere with cultural practices. There are difficulties with this theory however and these are discussed. The thesis concludes by suggesting a way in which the ‘Multiculturalism of Fear’ could be used as a starting point for the development of an alternative approach to multiculturalism, one that might remove the preoccupation with difference and foster positive inter- and intra-cultural understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Multiculturalism, culture, law, liberalism, republicanism, rights, recognition, immigration, minority
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JC Political theory
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Christodoulidis, Professor Emilios
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Miss Jessie Brechin
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5159
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2014 12:52
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2014 12:53
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5159

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