The Challenges of Multiculturalism in Promoting Social Capital

Presented by: Andhyta Firselly Utami Ÿ Abaya Gian Paolo Javier Atal Vinit Vilas Ÿ Kelvin Yap Bing Hui Souksanh Chansamai Ÿ San Dana Ÿ Huang Yi





Background: 1.  Definition 2.  Theory


Examples: 1.  Australia 2.  China 3.  Singapore 4.  Canada

Conclusion 1.  Pro-Cons 2.  Suggestions

•  • 

Also known as ethnic diversity In a general/descriptive sense: it relates to communities containing multiple cultures A multicultural society is formed when people from many different countries all migrate to one place.  Refers to the fact of cultural diversity or the demographic make up of a specific place




However, this does not only mean a mere toleration of group differences As a normative sense, it refers to ideologies or policies that promote diversity: This "mere toleration" falls short of treating members of minority groups as equal citizens. In political philosophy, it is about the proper way to respond to cultural and religious diversity. (The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)




Social Capital

Relationships matter.  –central thesis of Social Capital Theory Social networks are a valuable asset: Interaction enables people to build communities, to commit themselves to each other, and to knit the social fabric. (


Social Capital

In short it is about trusting relationships that allow people to support one another Consequently it is because of this that SC promotes the quality of life v=tTvbf1WVYFE



The Theory
¤  Robert Putnamʼ’s (Harvard political scientist) new study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. ¤  Immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. ¤  Trust, altruism, community cooperation rarer, and friendships fewer.  ¤  The problem isnʼ’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation.

¤  People in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.” ¤  Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.” ¤  Greater ethnic diversity was linked to lower school funding, census response rates, and trust in others.  ¤  Research documented higher desertion rates in the Civil War among Union Army soldiers serving in companies whose soldiers varied more by age, occupation, and birthplace.

¤  Arab statesman and scholar Ibn Khaldun, who documented that North African dynasties typically began as desert tribes poor in everything but what he termed asabiya or social solidarity.  ¤  Their willingness to sacrifice for each other made them formidable in battle. But once they conquered a civilized state along the coast, the inevitable growth in inequality began to sap their asabiya, until their growing fractiousness allowed another cohesive clan to emerge from the desert and overthrow them.

•  lead to mistrust •  challenge social solidarity •  break down community •  are poison to social capital.

1. Australia
—  50% of Australian were either born abroad or have parents born abroad; 70% skilled migrants —  Policies aiming to promote tolerance and inter-cultural engagement: National Multicultural Festival, Special Broadcasting Service, dismantling of the White Australia Policy —  However there have been many conflicts and rifts: denial of indigenous people’s rights, victimization of settler communities, as well as riots, street violence, and formation of ethnic gangs. —  Intellectual critiques: multiculturalism threatens social cohesion, obscures social costs associated with large scale immigration, as well as political challenges in the governmental system

2. China
•  Multiethnic/cultural country •  Western area: many minorities, less developed and less educated – want to build their own nations. •  Chinese government set up several policies to reduce political unrest •  Affirmative action: giving privilege to minorities on College Entrance Exam in order to give more opportunities for minorities to go to college

3. Canada

•  Adopted multiculturalism policy in 1970-1980 •  Statistics: 35% of visible minority respondents have experienced discrimination or unfair treatment; 65% of visible minority respondents have a perception that racism is prevalent in the workplace. •  In relation to social capital: hate, racism, and discrimination would hinder its promotion. •  So what should we do?

4. Success Story: Singapore
Indians   8%   Others   2%  

Malay   14%  

•  In 1950, there was a semi-political interracial riot between Chinese and Malay •  Has multiracial population since its founding (48 years)

Chinese   76%  

Extremely diverse population!

4. Success Story: Singapore
•  Racial harmony has never been taken for granted •  Government promotes ‘cultural DNA’ to be aware of Singapore’s different races and cultures: through institutions, policies, laws, and practices •  Government reflects multiculturalism: diverse •  Other than culture, there is also religious harmony! •  Result: Promotion of social capital is possible •  Key: effective policy and social-engineering not only socially but also economically and socially

Worst-case Scenario of Multiculturalism to Social Capital
People interact less with each other. Differences tend to reduce trust between society members. Inhabitants of diverse communities withdraw from collective life. Threatens national integration. Threatens social cohesion.

Best-case Scenario of Multiculturalism to Social Capital
People interact with each other. Differences help people to be open-minded. Social harmony achieved!

Enables innovation and tolerance.

Government promotes political, economical, social policies to promote interactions.

Social cohesion: multiculturalism with good policies and promoted social interactions

Social conflicts: multiculturalism without awareness to importance of social capital

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful