Edexcel Govt. & Politics Multiculturalism Mark Scheme & Exam Reports

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  • Created on: 05-06-13 16:37
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How and why have multiculturalists supported minority rights? (JAN 2010)
Minority rights are rights that belong to groups rather than individuals. They are sometimes seen as
`special' rights in that they are specific to the group in question and may therefore advantage
certain groups over other groups. Minority rights may include the right to respect and recognition
(possibly including the right for a group's core beliefs not to be insulted), `polyethnic' rights (rights
that enable a cultural group to express or maintain its cultural distinctiveness) and representation
rights (possible through `positive' discrimination or even selfgovernment at some level or other.
The justification for minority rights stems, most basically, from their role in upholding cultural
identity in a context of diversity and pluralism. Cultural distinctiveness is seen by multiculturalists as
the basis for civic unity. This particularly applies in the case of the right to respect and recognition
and in the legal exemptions that are upheld as part of polyethnic rights. Liberal or individual rights
tend to homogenise society by eroding cultural distinctiveness. Representation rights and `positive'
discrimination are also upheld by the desire to compensate marginalised groups for past injustices
or present disadvantages. Multiculturalists therefore use minority rights to advance the cause of
social justice.
On what grounds do multiculturalists defend diversity? (JUNE 2010)
Multiculturalists hold that cultural diversity is compatible with political cohesion. Multiculturalism is
therefore characterised by a refusal to link diversity conflict or instability. All forms of
multiculturalism are based on the assumption that diversity and unity can be blended with one
another they are not opposing forces. Indeed, diversity underpins political stability because people
are only able to participate fully in their society on the basis of cultural recognition and belonging.
Diversity can be seen to be beneficial to both the individual and to society. From the point of view
of the individual, diversity ensures toleration and allows individuals to adopt whatever beliefs and
cultural practices they may choose. Diversity benefits society because it generates vigour and
vibrancy, based on the existence of a variety of lifestyles, cultural practices, traditions and beliefs.
Diversity therefore promotes cultural exchange between groups that live side by side with one
another, thus fostering cultural understanding and a willingness to respect `difference'. Diversity, in
this sense, is the antidote to social polarisation and prejudice.
This question was answered well by a large proportion of candidates. Some highly impressive
responses were developed on the basis of the different justifi cations for diversity offered by, for
example, liberal multiculturalists, pluralist multiculturalists and cosmopolitan multiculturalists.
These often showed a sophisticated understanding of the range of multicultural thinking on the
issue of cultural diversity. Less impressive responses, however, tended either to focus on just one
multiculturalist defence for diversity or provided a descriptive rather than an analytical account
of multiculturalist thinking. A small number of very weak responses were nevertheless developed, it
seemed, on the basis of popular newspaper accounts of multiculturalism, usually of a negative character.
These responses were reminiscent of some early, weak responses to feminist questions, which drew from a
stereotypical and clearly pejorative image of feminism. The hope is these crude and untheoretical accounts
of multiculturalism will die out quickly.

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This answer provides well developed explanations of three multicultural positions on diversity, with one
position briefly described. It draws out some tensions between the different positions, which is
creditworthy.…read more

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Why have some multiculturalists criticised liberalism? (JAN 2011)
Pluralist multiculturalists have been critical of liberalism as a basis for ensuring cultural diversity. There
arguments have included the following:
Liberals tend to `absolutise' liberalism, in the sense that they have only been prepared to
endorse cultural beliefs and practices that are compatible with liberal commitment to
individual freedom and personal autonomy.…read more

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However, most candidates were able to discuss how and why
multiculturalists link identity to culture and think in terms of group identities. In the most successful cases,
this allowed them to point out how celebrating a positive cultural identity is, for multiculturalists, a means of
social advancement and an antidote to marginalisation and subordination.…read more

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This is a very good response, which received 13 marks. What is particularly impressive is the clarity with
which identity politics is explained at the outset, and the way in which the issue of identity is kept in focus
throughout.…read more

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In what sense is multiculturalism a form of communitarianism? (JAN 2012)
Communitarianism is the belief that the self or person is constituted through the community, in the sense that
individuals are shaped by the communities to which they belong and thus owe them a debt of respect and
consideration.…read more

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Liberal democracy provides the most reliable basis for political harmony within culturally divided
On what grounds have multiculturalists defended diversity? (JAN 2013)
Multiculturalists have defended cultural diversity on a number of grounds. These include the following:
Diversity provides the basis for cultural recognition, allowing people's cultural values and practices
to be respected and giving them a stronger and clearer sense of who they are.
It can be an expression of freedom, especially when it is linked to the idea of minority rights.…read more

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Multiculturalism breeds tension and social conflict.' Discuss. (JUNE 2010)
Multiculturalism is often criticised for breeding tension and social conflict. However, critics of
multiculturalism have argued this case in different ways depending on the political tradition from
which they come. On the other hand, multiculturalists strongly reject this view arguing that
multiculturalism is in fact a way of relieving tension and reducing social conflict.
Multiculturalism has been accused of breeding tension and social conflict, in particular by
conservative nationalists, socialists and feminists.…read more

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Multiculturalists support diversity and the politics of difference for a number of reasons. These include the
Diversity is always balanced against unity, and indeed serves unity through the existence of multiple
Diversity guarantees cultural recognition and therefore counters isolation and powerlessness,
helping to advance the interests of minority cultural groups.
Diversity allows cultural groups to celebrate their identity and benefit from respect and public
Diversity benefits society in that it promotes vigour and vibrancy, advancing understanding and
fostering crosscultural tolerance and understanding.…read more



thank you so much for this 

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