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Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines the evolution of cultural diversity, a concept of multiculturalism, as an ideology. Aside from cultural diversity, multiculturalism has three other inter-related concepts or values: identity, community, and citizenship and equality. The chapter first considers the link between migration and cultural diversity before discussing the routes to cultural diversity within modern states, especially immigration into European societies in the period since the Second World War. It then explores the relationship between the national and global dimensions of cultural diversity as well as the attitudes of other ideological perspectives, such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, nationalism, and feminism, to cultural diversity. It also asks whether multiculturalism is an ideology in its own right and how multiculturalist ideology has been expressed in political movements and shaped government policies. Finally, it assesses the nature of, and reasons for, the recent backlash against multiculturalism in European societies.


Monica Mookherjee

This chapter studies multiculturalism. The term ‘multiculturalism’ can refer to the fact of cultural diversity and may also describe the coexistence of different kinds of cultural group within a country. Multiculturalism emphasizes status, as well as economic inequalities. Thin multiculturalism views all cultural differences as disagreements between groups that agree on liberal values. This view may underestimate the extent of conflict between cultures. Meanwhile, thick multiculturalism appreciates that some cultural differences occur between liberals and non-liberals. While the solution to cultural conflicts in thick multiculturalism is often a modus vivendi, the question is whether this solution treats non-liberal minority cultures fairly. Defenders of cultural rights hold that governments should recognize that all citizens deserve equal opportunities for developing self-respect and autonomy. However, by respecting cultural rights, a government risks supporting injustice against individuals within groups.


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

This chapter argues that affirmative action is sometimes justifiable. ‘Affirmative action’ refers to policies beyond anti-discrimination law that directly regulate selection procedures to enhance the representation of members of various socially salient groups, such as those based on gender, race, and ethnicity. The chapter outlines an argument in support of affirmative action by distinguishing three prominent forms of wrongful discrimination and by showing that affirmative action is the appropriate response to the past and present wrongful discrimination suffered by members of socially salient groups. It also adds a second argument for affirmative action that appeals to the importance of enhancing diversity and social integration. The chapter then tackles several objections and reflects on the implications of these arguments for the design of affirmative action policies.