A2 Government and Politics - Multiculturalism Part One

Revision summary for EDEXCEL Government and Politics Multiculturalism

  • Created by: Alex
  • Created on: 27-05-11 13:38

Outline the three contrasting beliefs to social ad

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1. Liberal Universalism Republicanism - Universal citizenship, the belief that all members of society should enjoy the same status and the same entitlements.

Example - France ban on Burkha - First wave feminism, Equal Votes for Women and access to public life. Race relations act prohibits discrimination on grounds of race.

2. Social Reformism - Equality of Opportunity, A level playing field allows people to rise and fall in society strictly on personal ability and hard work.

Example - Race Relations Act 2000 - Forces employers to monitor staff recruitment/ promotion etc on basis of ethnic or racial origin in an attempt to solve social disadvantage through poverty.

3. Multiculturalism - Group self assertion, universal citizenship and equality of opportunity don't go far enough. Marginalised groups should be allowed to reclaim their authenticity.

Example - Right to public recognition and respect for minority groups (Polyethnic Rights) , Group self determination. The use of sharia law between muslims.

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Outline the Main Obstacle to Advancement + their a

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Liberal Universalism Republicanism (Main obstacle to advancement) - Legal and political exclusion, certain groups are denied rights enjoyed by other citizens. Social advancement brought about through legal equality associated with classical liberalism. (Attitude to difference) - Difference blindness - politics of indifference, difference is the problem as it leads to discriminatory or unfair treatment and should be banished or transcended in the name of equality.

Social Reformism (Main obstacle to advancement) - Social disadvantage, universal citizenship, formal equality not enough. People held back by social disadvantage (poverty, poor housing, lack of education and employment). (Attitude to difference) - Difference highlighted but in order to transcend temporary recognition of difference, groups identified only to expose unfair practices and eradicate them. Solved by social engineering that alleviates poverty.

Multiculturalism (Main obstacle to advancement) - Cultural marginalisation, marginalisation has deeper origins. Not just legal, political or social issue but cultural operates through stereotypes and values that structure how people see themselves and others. (Attitude to difference) - Celebrate difference as difference is permanent and ineradicable. There should be a positive celebration of cultural difference.

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Outline a political and normative definition of mu

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Political Term - An attempt to deal with cultural diversity in society of two or more groups whose beliefs/ practices generate a distinctive sense of collective identity. Political implications require governmental responses usually in the form of public policy initiatives and institutional design. Public policy, multicultural social policy in areas (like healthcare or housing) which formally recognise distinctive needs of cultural groups and desire to ensure equality of opportunity. Institutional design - organisation of government around ethnic, religious divisions. Consociationalism - A form of power sharing in divided societies.

Normative Term - A positive endorsement even celebration of communal diversity based either on the right of different cultural groups to respect and recognition or to the alleged benefits to the larger society of moral and cultural diversity. It was adopted by Australia in the 1970's to formally recognise the Aboriginal communities and their culture. It has only been a popular phrase since the 1990's endorsed in one form or other by non-western countries.

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Outline the key theme of multiculturalism and an e

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Key Theme - Diversity within unity - It is a positive endorsement of communal diversity based on right of different cultural groups to recognition and respect. Acknowledgement of the importance of beliefs, values and ways of life in establishing self worth for individuals and groups. Distinctive culture deserves to be protected and strengthened, particularly minority or vulnerable groups.

Example - Canada's Multiculturalism Act 1988 - There are older examples which might now be considered to be multicultural societies (eg: 19th century Ottoman Empire). It was first used in 1965 in Canada to describe a distinctive approach to tackling the issue of cultural diversity between the English and French speaking groups in Canada. It was formally endorsed in one form of other by most western countries.

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Outline two reasons illustrating the importance of

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1. Challenged Eurocentric world view - It gave the developing world a distinctive political voice seperate from universalist western ideologies such as liberalism. It allowed non-western religions, ideas and philosophies to be taken more seriously. Allowed western and non-western ideas - e.g. liberalism and Islam to be viewed as equally legitimate in articulating values and aspirations of communities.

2. Highlighted the political importance of Culture - Focussing on cultural legacy of colonial rule. If people are encouraged to view an imposed culture as oppressive and demeaning they are thereby invited to seek emancipation through the rediscovery of their 'native' culture. In this sense multiculturalism is part of a wider politics of cultural self assertion that can be traced back to the counter enlightenment and has been shaped by identity politics and communitarianism.

Example - Ghandi/ Frantz Fanon - Ghandi fused Indian Nationalism with an ethic of non-violence and self sacrifice ultimately rooted in hinduism. His ethic of non violent resistance, satyagraha gave the movement enormous moral authority. Frantz Fanon argued that decolonisation was not merely a political process but one through which a new species of man is created, only the cathartic experience of violence can bring about this regeneration.

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Give a political and philosophical critique of Lib

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Political Critique: It is based on identity politics - All forms of identity politics view liberal individualism as a source of oppression, even cultural imperialism, which marginalises and demoralises subordinate groups. The culture of liberal societies benefits dominant groups, men, whites, wealthy etc. Subordinate groups are considered inferior or demeaning stereotype as they are encouraged to identify with the values and interests of dominant groups, their oppressors. Viewed as a consequence of the decline in class solidarities.

Example - Edward Said's notion of 'Orientalism' highlighted how European Colonialism had been upheld through stereotypical fictions that belittled and demeaned non-western people/ culture.

Philosophical Critique: Based on communitarianism - Communitarianism arose as a philosophical revolt against liberal universalism, the belief that as individuals people in all societies and all cultures have essentially the same inner identity. Communitarianism is the belief that the self or person cannot be understood 'outside' society but are intrinsically shaped by the social, cultural and other contexts within which they live and develop. Thus communities are owed respect and consideration.

Example - Michael Sandel - Portrayed the idea of the abstract individual the 'unencumbered self' as a recipe for rootless atomism.

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Outline a further critique of Liberal Universalism

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Particularism not universalism - The rise in multiculturalism reflects a shift away from universalism to particularism reflecting an emphasis less on what people share or have in common and more on what is distinctive about the groups to which they belong. Sandel argues we are attached interdependently to the world around us, and it is impossible to think of communitarianism as an abstract notion.

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Give three reasons why culture is important.

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1. Culture = core feature of personal, political and social identity - Culture is the beliefs, values and practices that are passed on from one generation to the next through learning. Multiculturalism is shaped by beliefs that view culture as the core feature of personal, political and social identity. In that sense multiculturalism is part of a wider politics of cultural self assertion. The origins of this form of politics can be traced back to the counter-enlightenment, and has been shaped by identity politics and communitarianism.

2. Orientation and cultural belonging - It gives people orientation in the world and strengthens sense of cultural belonging. The rise of identity politics is widely viewed as a consequence of the breakdown of conventional class and ideological solidarities, and particularly of the decline of universalist philosophies, especially liberalism and socialism (in its various forms) to cries that practice the politics of difference highlighting importance of gender, ethnicity, race, culture and religion.

3. Cultural difference underpins, not threatens cultural cohesion - Different cultural groups can live peacefully and harmoniously because of the recognition of cultural difference which underpins, not threatens cultural cohesion. A pride in ones culture and especially a public acknowledgement and celebration of ones cultural identity thus gives people a sense of social and historical rootedness. A weak or fractured sense of cultural identity leaves people feeling isolated and confused.

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Give the first two types of Minority Rights + 2 ex


P.E / S.G.R

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1. Polyethnic Rights - These are legal privileges or exclusions that enable particular cultural / religious / ethnic groups to maintain identities and distinctive ways of life. Multiculturalism accepts the need to recognise minority rights sometimes called multicultural rights, compensation for present or past disadvantage.

Example - Exclusion of sikhs from the requirement to wear motorcycle helmets. The exclusion of Jewish shopkeepers from Sunday trading legislation. Exemption of muslim girls from school dress codes.

2. Self Government Rights - The right in certain circumstances to some degree of self determination enabling groups to exert some control / influence over the rules by which they live. This involves the distribution of political power, usually through federalism to political units substantially controlled by members of a national minority. It may extend this right of succession and sovereign independence.

Example - Native Americans in the USA, Inuits in Canada, Maoists in New Zealand and aboriginal peoples in Australia. Liberal multiculturalists such as Will Kymlicka.

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Give the last two types of Minority Rights + 2 exa

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Public Recognition and Respect - Cultural groups defined by characteristics such as religion, language, ethnicity or national origin, should somehow be accepted as legitimate actors in the public life. Such rights may include the right not to be offended, protecting the sacred or core beliefs of a group from being attacked or insulted. However, does treating it as an individual group undermine its integrity?

Example - UK law against religious hatred such as the controversy after publication of Salmon Rushdies 'The Satanic Verses'. Publication of Danish cartoon ridiculing the prophet Mohammed in 2006.

Representation Rights - Attempts to redress the under representation of minority or disadvantaged groups in society in education and senior positions in public life. Justifies positive discrimination as only way of ensuring full and equal participation which guarantees public policy reflects the interests of all groups.

Example - Regents of the University of California Vs. Bakke (1978) Right for black students to gain admission to university with lower qualifications than white students.

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Outline Will Kymlicka's view of multicultural citi

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Will Kymlicka Multicultural Citizenship - Kymlicka argues that multicultural, multiethnic societies are a fact of life. The challenge for liberal multiculturalism is not to ignore this reality or seek to supress it, but to recognise it and accomodate it within a liberal, pluralist society. The way to do this is to grant special group rights to minority communities, Kymlicka and his followers suggest it is possible to accomodate a recognition of seperate group rights.

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Outline two differences between Minority and Liber

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1. Minority Rights are specific to the group not the individual - Minority group rights are specific to the group concerned as opposed to liberal 'equal' or 'universal' rights that belong to individuals. Multiculturalism is a form of collectivism not individualism. Each group has different needs for recognition based on the specific nature of its religion, traditions and way of life. However, if culture is valuable than treating it as an individual group may undermine its integrity. If the rights are held by groups rather than individuals it affects freedom.

Example - Sikhs and Motorcycles - Legal exemplifications for Sikhs to ride motorcylces without crash helmets would be meaningless to other groups.

2. Minority Rights advantage some groups over others - Multiculturalism in principle treats all cultural groups equally in their entitlement to recognition, respect and basic rights. However, unlike traditional liberal rights theory it is prepared to violate the principle of formal equality by granting preferential rights to certain groups for past injuries.

Example - Positive discrimination in the employment of Police Officers from ethnic minorities in the Metropolitan Police.

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Give two criticisms of Minority Rights + examples

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1. Prevents integration - Criticises cultural rights as a symbol of seperateness which makes it harder to assimilate groups of people within society. Multiculturalism by contrast is distinguished by an emphasis on difference over equality.

Example - Muslim veil is seen to provide a divide between Islamic and Western culture, and seen as discriminatory against women.

2. Positive discrimination unfair and counter-productive - Positive discrimination is seen to be unfair as it does not choose people on the basis of ability and causes resentment amongst other groups. It is also seen as demeaning and counter-productive as it implies that such groups cannot gain advancement through their own efforts.

Example - BNP Propaganda - Support for the BNP among the White British is actually lower in more ethnically diverse areas.

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Give a further two criticisms of Minority Rights +

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3. Implications for freedom of speech - Minority Rights stress the right of cultures not to be offended, to criticise, insult or even ridicule such beliefs is thus seen as an attack on the group itself. Especially in the case of religious groups which consider certain beliefs to be sacred. This clashes with the liberal belief in freedom of expression.

Example - Satanic verses controversy after publication of cartoon ridiculing the prophet Mohammed.

4. Tension between individual and group rights - Tension caused between group and individual rights as cultural belonging is usually a product of family and social background rather than personal choice. Difficulty of determining extent to which people in a culture are making an individual choice.

Example - Arranged / Forced Marriages - Is it is possible to get out of a cultural group?

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Outline Multiculturalism's approach to Diversity

(Theory of multiple identities)

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Theory of Multiple Identities - Multiculturalism is characterised by steadfast refusal to link diversity to conflict or instability. Based on compatibility between cultural diversity and political unit. Diversity and unity can and should be tolerated and balanced. It accepts that people can have multiple identities and multiple loyalties to their country of origin and country of settlement.

Example - African Americans, black British, Japaneese Americans share unity. Nation of Islam is an argument against this.

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Outline two ways that Diversity benefits society +

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1. Benefits Individual - Multiculturalism is characterised by a steadfast refusal to link diversity, conflicts or instability. Based on compatibility between cultural diversity and political unit, all forms of multiculturalism based on assumption that diversity and unity are blended. It gives a stronger sense of cultural identity and belonging.

Example - John Lockes 'A letter concerning toleration' objective truth can only emerge out of free competition amongst ideas and beliefs.

2. Vigour and vibrancy to society - Brings vigour and vibrancy to society in which there are a number of lifestyles, cultural practices, traditions and beliefs. Cultural diversity benefits society just like biodiversity benefits an ecosystem. It's led to the belief that cultural groups are defined by characteristics which should be accepted in public life.

Example - Native Americans in the USA, Inuits in Canada, Maoists in New Zealand, Aboriginals in Australia.

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Give two further benefits of how diversity benefit

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3. Mutual understanding and respect - Promotion of cultural exchange fosters mutual understanding and encourages a willingness to respect 'difference'. Diversity is therefore the antidote to social polarisation and prejudice. This has led to the right in certain circumstances to some degree of self determination enabling groups to exert some control / influence over the rules by which they live.

Example - Support for groups such as the BNP among the White British is actually lower in ethnically diverse areas.

4. Underpins political stability - Multiculturalists argue that people become willing and able to participate in society precisely because they have a firm and secure identity rooted in their own culture. From this perspective the denial of cultural recognition results in isolation and powerlessness, providing a breeding ground for extremism and the politics of hate.

Example - Growing support for religious fundamentalism and the rise of Islamophobia.

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Outline the different views of the importance of d


L.M / P.M / C.M

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Liberal Multiculturalism - Diversity within a Liberal framework - 1. Focus on toleration and forbearance. 2. Cultural diversity (cultural, religious and linguistic identity etc) is limited to the private sphere. 3. Liberal democracy is the only legitimate political system as it guarantees consent, personal freedom and toleration.

Pluralist Multiculturalism - Diversity is a value in its own right - The existence of party pluralism (political pluralism) a multiplicity of ethical values (moral or value pluralism) and a variety of cultural beliefs (cultural pluralism and so on) Diversity is viewed as healthy and desirable as it promotes debate, argument and understanding.

Cosmopolitan Multiculturalism - Diversity strengthens hybridity - Endorse cultural diversity and identity politics, but view them as a temporary transitional state prior to a larger reconstruction of political sensibilities. Celebrates diversity as a means of cultural exchange and produces a 'pick and mix' multiculturalism. Cosmopolitan multicultural society 'melting pot of different ideas'.

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Provide a definition of Liberal Multiculturalism a


Toleration / Individualism / Individual Freedom

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Liberal Multiculturalism - Cultural diversity contained by overarching civic unity - universal citizenshuip within context of liberal democracy.

1. Based on Toleration / Forbearance - Toleration for a Liberal means forbearance, a willingness to accept forms of behaviour or beliefs of which one disapproves or simply dislikes. Toleration in other words is not morally neutral, it only applies in circumstances where there is disagreement with the views or actions of others.

2. Individualism (implies difference/ diversity) - Autonomy is considered as an essential condition for personal or moral development. Intolerance therefore restricts the range of individual choice and can only damage and corrupt the individual. Mill feared what he called the despotism of custom and warned of the danger of dull conformity.

3. Individual freedom (guaranteed by toleration) - Based on the arguments for religious toleration in John Locke's 'A letter concerning toleration'. Many truths can only be established by individuals for themselves and rational individuals should therefore be left free to decide their own beliefs and determine their own actions.

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Provide a further two areas of toleration emphasis


Social Progress

Underlying balance / harmony

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4. Social Progress (truth prevails in free market of ideas) - For JS Mill the virtue of moral, cultural and political diversity is that it ensures that all themes will be tested in free competition against rival ideas and doctrines. If society is too progress good ideas have to displace bad ones. Mill accepted debate.

5. Underlying balance / harmony (diversity / pluralism does not result in conflict / disorder) - The intellectual development and moral health of society therefore demand the scrupulous maintenace of toleration to ensure a 'free market of ideas'.

Example - Voltaire - The French writer Voltaire memorably expressed such a position in declaring 'I detest what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it'. However this has led to the paradox of toleration.

Example - JS Mill - On Liberty - Autonomy is considered an essential condition for personal or moral development. Intolerance restricts the range of individual choice and can only damage and corrupt the individual. Based on Mill's 'Harm Principle' individual freedom can only be rightfully constrained in order to prevent harm to others, to 'defend the individuals right to autonomy'. Mill feared what he called the 'despotism of custom'  in a democratic society. He warned of the danger that majority opinion would promote dull conformity, as a result he extolled the virtues of individuality and eccentricity.

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Outline a further feature of Liberal Multicultural

Hint: P.S

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Cultural diversity limited to the Private Sphere - Cultural, religious, linguistic identity is limited to the private sphere and public life must be characterised by civic inclusion not diversity. Eg: Liberals do not assume that societies are only stable iff they are based on shared values and a common culture, but insist this is confined to private.

Example - 'Hyphenated Nationality' - The so called hyphenated nationality that operates in the USA. People view themselves as African-Americans, Polish-Americans, but the US government places certain restrictions on citizenship such as the need for a certain proficiency in English.

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Outline a third feature of Liberal Multiculturalis

Hint: Legitimate

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Liberal democracy is the only legitimate political system (guarantee's consent, freedom and mutual respect) - Only liberal democracy ensures that government is based on consent and can guarantee personal freedom and toleration. Groups are therefore only entitled to toleration and respect iff they are prepared to respect and tolerate others.

Example - Toleration is not extended to intolerant practices (John Rawls - Reasonable Pluralism) - It is difficult for Liberals to tolerate intolerant views and actions, because at heart they believe that these are wrong. E.g: Female circumcision.

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Outline the fourth and final feature of Liberal Mu

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Any group rights are subordinate to Individual Rights - Liberal democracy alone ensures that government is based on the consent of the people, and that it provides guarantees for personal freedom and toleration. Liberals may therefore be willing to ban fascist or militant fundamentalist groups that aspire to overthrow liberal democracy for authoritarianism.

Example - Will Kymlicka - Polyethnic Rights - Cultural adherence and identity can be reconciled with political liberalism if and only if minority rights do not contradict the principle of individual autonomy.

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Summarise the four features of Liberal Multicultur

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1. Based on Toleration/ Forbearance - Accepts disapproving behaviour.

2. Cultural diversity limited to the Private Sphere - Public life... civic inclusion.

3. Liberal Democracy only legitimate political system - It guarantees consent, freedom and mutual respect.

4. Any group rights subordinate to individual rights - Provides guarantees for personal freedom and toleration.

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Summarise the five examples of Liberal Multicultur

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Example One: Voltaire 'I detest what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it'.

Example Two - JS Mill 'On Liberty' - Intolerance damages and corrupts the individual.

Example Three - Hyphenated nationality - African-American, Polish-American etc.

Example Four - Toleration not extended to intolerant practices - John Rawls reasonable pluralism.

Example Five - Will Kymlicka Polyethnic Rights - Cultural adherence is fine.

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Thanks for this :D



alex my hero you're a star 4 this :)



This is really useful thanks!!
but i cant see the full questions,
like the first question says 'outline three contrasting beliefs to social ad' :s

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