×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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Parekh writes about the dangers of avoiding ignoring diversity as well as if diversity is over addressed. The erstwhile Soviet Union and Yugoslavia reethinking the requisite imagination and wisdom and met their doom.

A nd it also ignores or marginalizes such other great values as mmulticulturalism solidarity, community, a sense of rootedness, selflessness, deep and self-effacing humility and contentment. C ommitment or belonging is reciprocal in nature. Each of them — be it liberalism, conservatism, socialism or nationalism — is embedded in a particular culture, represents a particular vision of the good life, and is necessarily narrow and partial.

All it means is that no culture is wholly worthless, that it deserves at least some respect rfthinking 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. And even so far as political life is concerned, mulgiculturalism need to be interpreted and defined in the light of the wider culture and the unique history and political circumstances of the community concerned.

He was elected British Asian of This important and much acclaimed book rapidly became a classic on first publication.

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

It creates and defines multiculturalism in the form of political theory as well as political practice in the modern era, being based on Parekh’s experience of Multiculturalism in British society as well as other areas around the world. 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.

Parekh’s book addresses several topics, primarily multicultural politics, as well as the practice and theory behind addressing these politics. Liberalism, for example, is an inspiring political doctrine stressing such great values as human dignity, autonomy, liberty, critical thought and equality. Pages to import images to Wikidata.

Since it grasps only some aspects of the immensely complex human existence and misses out too much of what gives value to life, liberalism, socialism or for that matter any other political doctrine cannot provide the sole basis of the good society. 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 in terms of a culturally derived system of meaning and significance.


T he political context in which the Constitution bhi,hu drafted has however altered considerably. 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.

From a multiculturalist perspective, no political doctrine or ideology can represent the full truth of human life. It does not involve commitment to common goals, for members of a community might deeply disagree about these, nor to a common view of its history which they may read very differently, nor to its form of government about which they might entertain very different views, nor mulriculturalism its dominant cultural ethos which some might strongly disapprove of.

Cultures grow out of conscious and unconscious interactions with each other, define their identity in terms of what they take to be their significant other, and are at least partially multicultural in their origins and constitution. The latter need to find ways of reconciling the legitimate rethibking of unity and diversity, of achieving political unity without cultural uniformity, and cultivating among its citizens both a common sense of belonging and a willingness to respect and cherish deep cultural differences.

A lthough equal citizenship is essential to fostering a common sense of belonging, it is not enough. A multicultural society cannot be stable and last long without developing a common sense of belonging among its citizens.

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

The two do not necessarily coincide. Political doctrines are ways of structuring political life and do not offer a comprehensive philosophy of life. In it, Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural diversity.

M isrecognition has both a cultural and a material basis. M ulticultural societies in their current form are new to our age and throw up theoretical and political problems that have no parallel in history.

A multicultural society should not repeat the mistake of its monocultural counterpart by requiring that all its communities should become multicultural. Individuals nhikhu carry their own culture disturb relationships of power that in return culture has previously been established In.

Bhikhu Parekh, What is multiculturalism

This involves granting them equal rights of citizenship, a decent standard of living, and the opportunity to develop themselves and participate in bbhikhu make their respective contributions to its collective life. Second, different cultures represent different systems of meaning and visions of the good life. It is a matter of degree and could take such forms as a quiet concern for its well-being, deep attachment, affection, and rethinkihg love. 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.


When we view the world from its vantage point, our attitudes to ourselves and others undergo profound changes. However, they can be defined in several different ways, of which the liberal is only one and not always the most coherent. Since each defines its identity in terms of its differences from others or what it rehhinking not, it feels threatened by them and seeks to pafekh its integrity by resisting their influences and even avoiding all contacts with them.

It must, therefore, value and cherish them all equally and reflect this in its structure, policies, conduct of public affairs, pareekh and self-definition. 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 rethinkint of position by a leading scholar in the field worldwide.

There is little sign that we have even begun to grasp the enormity of the problem facing us, let alone explore ways of tackling it. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The core of oarekh 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.

Views Read Edit View history. The political theories, institutions, vocabulary, virtues and skill that we have developed in the course of rethiinking 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 dealing with multicultural societies. A culture cannot appreciate the value of others unless it appreciates the plurality within it; the converse is just as true. Their criticisms need not arouse unease or provoke charges of disloyalty so long as their basic commitment to the community is not in doubt.

Even such affluent, stable and politically mature democracies as the U. Since the dominant group generally welcomes neither, recognition is not given willingly as a gift multidulturalism an act of grace. Citizenship is about status and rights; belonging is about acceptance, feeling welcome, a sense of identification.

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