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Is Multiculturalism Discriminatory?
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7797-0166
2019 (English)In: Res Publica, ISSN 1356-4765, E-ISSN 1572-8692, p. 1-14Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Many political theorists are multiculturalists. They believe that states ought to support and accommodate minority cultures, even if they disagree about when such support and accommodations are due and what forms they should take. In this contribution, I argue that multiculturalists have failed to notice an important objection against a wide range of multiculturalism policies. This objection is predicated on the notion that when states support and accommodate minority cultures, they should support and accommodate many subcultures and individualistic conceptions of the good as well. However, since a significant proportion of multiculturalism policies imposes financial costs on society, it will often be prohibitively expensive for states to support and accommodate citizens’ subcultures and individualistic conceptions of the good on an equal basis. The result is that implementing such policies is likely to end up discriminating against certain groups, which might include e.g. fervent football fans, globe-trotters, mountain climbers, motor bikers, Hippies, and artists. I conclude by considering six reasons for giving preferential treatment to minority cultures that would allow multiculturalists to avoid this implication, which invoke, inter alia, the depth, duration, and involuntariness of cultural commitments; the role of culture in allowing people to live autonomously; and cultural rights to political self-determination. None are found to be convincing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 1-14
Keywords [en]
Multiculturalism; Minority rights; Discrimination; Majority cultures; Subcultures; Will Kymlicka
National Category
Ethics
Research subject
Ethics; Practical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-162098DOI: 10.1007/s11158-019-09433-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-162098DiVA, id: diva2:1342580
Available from: 2019-08-13 Created: 2019-08-13 Last updated: 2019-08-15

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