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Multiculturalism (1)

Multiculturalism (1)

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Published by modjeska
multiculturalism
multiculturalism

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479
Multiculturalism
depthlessness of the image. The art of Jeff Koons is a good example of such waning of affect in cultural life and is frequently discussed as either banal and apolitical or, alternately, ironic and provocative.
Critical Issues
Some authors have argued that modernity has never been a coherent and pervasive system or ide-ology, for the project of modernity was fully real-ized in few historical settings. Some praise modernity for its applications of standards and boundaries that allow for the formation of cultural canons and supposedly collectively agreed cultural norms. Likewise, the project of modernity is often admired for its emphasis on reason, for attempting to safeguard the sanctity and rights of the individ-ual, and for its promotion of scientific rationality as the basis for decision making. Furthermore, modernity has fostered a commitment to valuing the collective political struggle of marginalized groups. From the perspective of postmodernity, the project of modernity was always too suspicious of other cultures, ways of life, and thought that are not deemed appropriately modern, rational, or scientific. Postmodernism is thus much about expe-riencing and embracing difference and diversity and the cultivation of hybrid, cosmopolitan models of cultural engagement. Moreover, postmodern-ism is sometimes even about embracing the pre-modern, for example, in finding enthusiasm for alternative medicines or non-Western spirituali-ties. Postmodernity has also encouraged people and researchers to relativize the basis of their knowl-edge, not to assume certainties or universals, and urged them to understand ideas about universal truths and reason as bogus and merely reflections of entrenched knowledge-power relations. On the downside, as in the extreme reflections of the late-period Jean Baudrillard, postmodernity becomes a toothless critique that merely mirrors the mode of reasoning postmodernists want to expose, for example, in their criticisms of media cultures. Likewise, with its focus on lifestyle, celebrity, and consumerism, postmodernity has struggled to escape the shallowness of its own modes of cultural production. Though it is not an entirely dead set of ideas, many scholars believe we are certainly post-postmodernity and well beyond the era of high-modernity. Academic discourses in the last decade or so have been picking at the bones of postmod-ern theory to judge which bits are worth keeping and combining with the best features of modernity to sustain a new vision of social progress.
Ian Woodward
See also
 Complex Inequality; Ontological Insecurity; Self; Society and Social Identity
Further Readings
Bauman, Z. (1991).
Modernity and ambivalence.
 Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Crook, S., Pakulski, J., & Waters, M. (1992).
Postmodernization: Change in advanced society.
 London: Sage.Harvey, D. (1989).
The condition of postmodernity.
 Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Heelas, P., Lash, S., & Morris, P. (Eds.). (1996).
Detraditionalization: Critical reflections on authority and identity.
 
Cambridge, UK: Blackwell. Jameson, F. (1991).
Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism.
 London: Verso.Lash, S., & Urry, J. (1987).
The end of organized capitalism.
 Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Lash, S., & Urry, J. (1994).
Economies of signs and space.
 London: Sage.McGuigan, J. (2009).
Modernity and postmodern culture
 (2nd ed.). Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Turner, B. (1994).
Orientalism, postmodernism and  globalization.
 London: Routledge.
M
ULTICULTURALISM
Multiculturalism
 is a current and significant term that deals with cultural identity and diversity; it
 
can be defined as a distinctive positive attitude toward cultural diversity. Thus, the fundamental root of its conception rests on the idea of
differ-ence.
 Multiculturalism, then, is understood as the study and support for peaceful coexistence of diverse cultures in a society. Thus, it is an issue of ethics. The emphasis or the first principle of multi-culturalism has to deal with the definition of
cul-ture.
 How culture is defined shapes human perception. The interaction and communication of diverse cultures should be thought in relation to reception, recognition, and acknowledgment of
 
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 Multiculturalism
one culture by the other, or one individual by oth-ers. To introduce multiculturalism, this entry men-tions the origins of the term, the competing definitions, the theorizing literature, the legal and political aspects, and a brief discussion of the sources for its critique.
Origins
Many point to the 1965 preliminary report of the Canadian Royal Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism as the quintessential official source of multiculturalism as an idea. The commission’s final report, which was published between 1967 and 1970, became the first publication that men-tioned a multicultural society; thus coining the term.
Multiculturalism
has been primarily used to define the cultural diversity based on identity and distinctiveness that depended on one’s native lan-guage and ethnicity. However, this was not neces-sarily a biologic definition; one person might have come from diverse genealogical lineage and still adopted a particular third ethnic identity or lan-guage through a certain identification process.The initial understanding of multiculturalism mostly referred to the efforts of protecting minor-ity or aboriginal cultures. Many democratic nation-states considered enabling their minority and aboriginal ethnic groups for political self-represen-tation and granting them autonomy. Thus, the term gained popularity during the 1970s, espe-cially in countries like Australia, which intended to follow Canada’s lead. This trend was even appar-ent in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which recognized 16 autonomous ethnic republics in its 1976 constitution.Many countries, too, pondered the idea of mul-ticulturalism as a consequence of having or inviting large numbers of immigrants inside their boundar-ies. Therefore, multiculturalism obtained more interest, as the term also began to define a benevo-lent attitude of a state toward its immigrant popu-lace, allowing them to keep and maintain their distinct ethnic and linguistic identities regardless of their status of residency and citizenship. The pur-pose here was to integrate new arrivals to the pre-dominant culture and to provide a peaceful platform for coexistence of different cultural ethnic groups without perpetrating a form of oppression and mar-ginalization. In different political and geographic regions, the objectives of multiculturalism based on immigration naturally varied between assimilation and accommodation. Countries such as the United States, Brazil, and Canada are examples of immi-grant nations that each have their own distinct pains in the process.Multiculturalism also found its place as a move-ment against racism and any type of social, politi-cal, and cultural division of a society based on racial segregation, that defended individual as well as group rights and demanded equality for all, in politics and law, regardless of race. Many promi-nent figures theorizing multiculturalism even con-sidered race as an illusionary social construct that was used as a political instrument of domination, conceiving cultural difference and ethnic diversity as a sign of inferiority.
Definitions
The most common definition of
multiculturalism
refers to ethnicity. It can be ideally described as the will and desire of diverse and multiple ethnic cul-tures to live together without exploitation and subordination of others. Since its origin, however, multiculturalism has evolved and expanded in its definition because its first principle,
culture,
 has been more broadly perceived. The general descrip-tion of culture and how people identity themselves with a given culture has dramatically transformed the meaning of the term. Multiculturalism no lon-ger only discusses ethnicity, race, and the rights of minorities. The multicultural argument extends over the horizons of sex, gender, sexual orienta-tion, religion, creed, culturally distinct traditions and practices, political ideologies, pop-culture com-munities, and their combinations. The philosophi-cal, theoretical, legal, and political perspectives concerning multiculturalism merge and become one whole
attitude.
 Such a broad understanding of multiculturalism faces a problem of incomplete theorization and results in disagreements because of the vast volume of ideas under discussion.A more extensive definition of multiculturalism should contain all the connotations of
culture
 when it is referred in the earlier description—the will and desire of diverse and multiple cultures to live together. However, the extensive definition seems to be trouble-laden when one begins to question its likelihood and plausibility. At that
 
481
Multiculturalism
point, the conditions that are necessary for multi-culturalism to emerge and exist in its largest pos-sible sense should be deliberated. The agreement is that, as for the first condition, a more inclusive kind of liberal democracy needs to be adopted to accommodate such a multicultural society. Such a democratic regime should guarantee that an envi-ronment for a multicultural society exists and leg-islate the necessary laws to protect it by legitimizing the demands of diversity.The second condition refers to the ideas of recep-tion, recognition, and acknowledgment of diverse cultures within a society. Individuals and groups should have the right and freedom to identify them-selves with one or more cultures, voluntarily obtaining an identity of their own. In addition, each individual and group needs to accept others and recognize their adopted or inherited cultures by acknowledging that others’ rights are as legitimate as their own. The extent of this condition ought to be limited by the idea of respect for culture, as the first principle of multiculturalism. Any type of cul-ture that would not comply with the coexistence, equality, and rights of diversity, and could not allow the conditions necessary for multiculturalism might lose countenance and moral support, even though they may be tolerated. One example of this condition could be permitting a racist group such as Aryan Brotherhood to exist while ensuring that its potential damage to others is minimal or nonex-istent by pacifying the means of violence.The last condition is that the multicultural soci-ety needs to address the needs of its current mem-bers and should have a determination to ensure that future generations will enjoy the similar rights as well as they could accommodate new needs as the extent of the interpretations of culture may expand. Thus, the ethical disposition of multiculturalism seems to reside in a conscious cultural relativism without falling victim to naïveté of degenerating in principles and execution. In this sense, cultural rela-tivism refers to a multicultural sensitivity that would not let the so-called cultures that are incom-patible and repugnant to multiculturalism control and manipulate the fate of reasonable people that have the desire and will to live in a diverse society.Cases of cultural diversity, as mentioned previ-ously in the largest sense of culture, present an ideal but challenging list of theories and practices that the proponents of multiculturalism attempt to address. Keeping the three conditions mentioned earlier in mind and depending on one’s philosoph-ical stance, a rank of importance can be implied to the list but it still remains indeterminate.
 Race and Ethnicity
Under expanded definitions of multiculturalism, as mentioned earlier, no one should claim any kind of social, political, or legal superiority based on his or her race or ethnicity, nor should one be assigned an inferiority based on the same criteria. Minorities and marginalized groups should be protected and all deemed equal before law with equal rights. The state can determine an official language and obtain an ethnic national name without suppressing its citizens, immigrants, and guest residents to main-tain their own ethnic identity and native tongue, dialect, or vernacular speech. The challenges asso-ciated with race and ethnicity include nationalism, tribalism, and cultural chauvinism.
Sex and Gender 
As with race and ethnicity, an expanded defini-tion of multiculturalism ensures that no one is superior or inferior because of his or her sex or gender. No sex or gender may have unequal social, political, or legal expectations or responsibilities. All sexes, including transsexuals and transvestites, are deemed to have equal rights and entitled to be equally treated by law. The challenges associated with sex and gender include sexist traditionalism and religious conservatism.
Sexual Orientation
This can sometimes be treated under the sex and gender criterion; however, it is increasingly considered as a separate multicultural issue. Broader definitions of multiculturalism allow peo-ple to have and perform the sexual orientation of their choice regardless of sexual and gender roles assigned and expected of them. No one can be treated unequally before law nor denied his or her civil rights because of sexual preferences.
 Religion and Creed 
In multicultural societies, as defined previously, people can have and profess any religious belief

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