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Introducing Political PhilosophyA Policy-Driven Approach

Introducing Political Philosophy: A Policy-Driven Approach (1st edn)

Andrew Walton, William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, and Tom Parr
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date: 07 December 2023

p. 1269. Minority Exemptions and Multiculturalismlocked

p. 1269. Minority Exemptions and Multiculturalismlocked

  • William Abel,
  • Elizabeth Kahn,
  • Tom Parr
  •  and Andrew Walton


This chapter argues that there is a narrow range of cases in which the state should grant members of minority groups exemptions from laws and policies that apply to others. Social and economic institutions tend to favour the preferences of those who share the majority culture, with the result that a member of a minority group often faces additional burdens in complying simultaneously with the law and the demands of their culture or religion. The chapter draws on this to propose an initial case for minority exemptions. The justification for these exemptions sees them as part of a political programme of multiculturalism, which aims to treat members of minority groups fairly when designing and applying laws and policies. The chapter then looks at the limits of this argument to shed light on the range of cases in which the state should grant such exemptions.

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