×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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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 multicultrualism and well-being, what one might call patriotism or political loyalty. Each of them — be it liberalism, conservatism, socialism or nationalism — is embedded in a particular culture, multiculturaliwm a particular vision of the good life, and is necessarily narrow and partial.

Thanks to the wisdom of its founding fathers, and the judicious balance between unity and diversity embodied in the Indian Constitution, India has managed to persist for five decades as a territorially intact and moderately successful polity.

In it, Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural diversity.

Indeed, it is precisely because it cherishes cultural plurality that it accommodates those that do not share its dominant multiculturallism ethos.

The sense of belonging cannot be ethnic and based on shared cultural, ethnic and other characteristics, for a multicultural society is too diverse for that, but must be political and based on a shared commitment to the political community. 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.

Many accused the text of having no real world use, and only theory to back it up. A lthough equal citizenship is essential to fostering a common sense of belonging, it is not enough.

What I might call a multiculturalist perspective is composed of the creative interplay of these three important and complementary insights — namely the cultural embeddedness of human beings, the inescapability and desirability of cultural plurality, and the plural and multicultural constitution of each culture. Its members do not directly belong to each other as in an ethnic group but through their mediating membership of a shared community, and they are committed to each other because they are all in their own different ways committed to a common historical community.

The two do not necessarily coincide.

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 pafekh and absorb the influences of others and are shaped by wider economic, political and other forces. The early s marked psrekh emergence of the multicultural movement at first in Canada and Australia and then in the U.

All it means is that no culture is wholly worthless, that it deserves at least some respect because of what it means to its members and the creative energy it displays, that no culture is perfect and has a right to impose itself on others, and that cultures are best changed from within. This is why, although they might personally loathe some of their fellow-members or find their lifestyles, views and values unacceptable, their mutual commitment and pwrekh as members of a shared community remain unaffected.


When the dominant culture defines the minorities in a demeaning way and systematically reinforces it by all the institutional and other means at its disposal, they consciously or unconsciously internalize the negative self-image, lack self-esteem, and feel alienated from the mainstream society. The political theories, institutions, vocabulary, virtues and skill that we have developed in the course of consolidating and conducting the affairs of a culturally homogeneous state during the past three centuries are of limited help, and sometimes even a positive handicap, in multiculturaoism with multicultural societies.

Each carries bits of the other within itself and is never wholly sui generis. Cultural Diversity and Political Theory”.

Since the dominant group generally welcomes neither, recognition is not given willingly as a gift or an act of grace. Cultural Diversity and Political Theory has been reviewed paekh several political and cultural authors. 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.

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

Since each realises a limited range of human capacities and emotions and grasps only a part of the totality of human existence, it needs other cultures to help it understand itself better, expand its intellectual and moral horizon, stretch its imagination, save it from narcissism to guard it against the obvious temptation to absolutise itself, and so on. This does not mean that they are determined by their culture in the sense of being unable to rise above its categories of thought and critically evaluate its values and system of meaning, but rather that they are deeply shaped by it, can overcome some but not all of its influences, and necessarily view the world from within a culture, be it the one they have inherited and uncritically accepted or reflectively revised or, in rare cases, one they have consciously adopted.

Patriotism is not the monopoly of the conservatives, and the socialists, the radicals and the communists can be loyal to their community just as much as and even more than they are.

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. Their criticisms need not arouse unease or provoke charges of disloyalty so long as their basic commitment to the community is not in doubt.

Parekh writes about the dangers of avoiding ignoring diversity as well as if diversity is over addressed.

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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Rethinking Multiculturalism – Bhikhu Parekh – Macmillan International Higher Education

The commitment to the political community involves commitment to its continuing existence and well-being, and implies that one cares enough for it not to harm its interests and undermine its integrity. A nd it also ignores or marginalizes such other great values as human solidarity, community, a sense of rootedness, selflessness, deep and self-effacing humility and contentment.

First, human beings are culturally embedded in the sense that they grow up and live within a culturally structured world and organize their lives and social relations bhikuh terms of a culturally derived system of meaning and significance.

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. From a multiculturalist perspective, no political doctrine or ideology can represent the full truth rethinkiing human life.


Even such affluent, stable and politically mature democracies as the U. T he political context in which the Constitution was drafted has however altered considerably.

This undercuts the very basis retjinking Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism, Indocentrism, Sinocentrism and other kinds of centrisms, all of which isolate the history of the culture concerned from that of others and credit its achievements to its own genius.

T hird, every culture is internally plural and reflects a continuing conversation between its different traditions and strands of thought. In it, Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural This is to misunderstand the dynamics of the process of recognition.

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Guided by such multjculturalism, 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. The American Whites, for example, take a demeaning view of Blacks partly under the influence of the racist pare,h, partly because this helps them justify the prevailing system of domination, and partly because the deeply disadvantaged Blacks do sometimes exhibit some of the features that confirm White stereotypes.

He was elected British Asian of Rethniking is caused by, among other things, the manner in which the wider society defines itself, the demeaning ways in rethunking the rest of its members talk about these groups, and the umlticulturalism or patronizing ways in which they treat them.

Citizenship is about status and rights; belonging is about acceptance, feeling welcome, a sense of identification. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

W e instinctively suspect attempts to homogenize a culture and impose a single identity on it, for we are acutely aware that every culture is internally plural and differentiated. Liberalism, for example, is an inspiring political doctrine stressing such great values as human dignity, autonomy, liberty, critical thought and equality. It also assumed a culturally neutral and socially transcendental state, able to ensure political impartiality, and did not anticipate that a determined majority might culturally monopolise the state and use it to enforce a narrow vision of India.

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory – Wikipedia

First edition rapidly established itself as a classic in the field 2nd edition further develops author’s distinctive views in an extensive response to critics Definitive statement of position by a leading scholar in the field worldwide. This page was last edited on 18 Novemberat The new second edition includes a substantial additional chapter addressing key issues. One might enjoy all the rights of citizenship but feel that one does not quite belong to the community and is a relative outsider, as do some groups of African-Americans in the United States, Afro-Caribbeans multiculfuralism Asians in Britain, Arabs in France and Israel, and Muslims and, until recently, Sikhs in India.