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Locality and
Terence Turner. 1993.
- Anthropology and
Arjun Appadurai. 1996.
- Modernity at Large
What is Multiculturalism
 Multiculturalism is used “in connection
with demands on behalf of black and other
minority groups for separate and equal
representation in college curriculum…”
(411) – especially in USA
 A “call for a critical retheorizing of the
relation of culture and political society
that would accommodate, rather than ignore
or repress, the multiplicity of identities
and social groups…” (412)
 “Multiculturalism…is primarily a movement
for change.” (412)
 “Culture, for multiculturalists, then,
refers primarily to collective social
identities engaged in struggles for social
equality. For multiculturalism, culture is
Nationalism and Culture
 Multiculturalism contrasts with
“monoculturalism,” which was the norm for
the nation-state since the early 19th
century. (France=French Culture)
 The idea of the nation-state is that each
“nation” (e.g. people, race, ethnicity)
should have its own sovereign state.
 Policies encouraged unity of language,
education, economy, and religion.
(compulsory education for all in the
national language).
 Nationalism leads to assimilation - the
directed removal of cultural difference -
Multiculturalism as
 “Multicultural society” = descriptive
“Multiculturalism” = prescriptive (e.g.
 Japan)
Government policies include:
1) recognition of multiple citizenship
2) government support for minority
language media (TV, radio, newspaper)
3) support for holidays and festivals
4) acceptance of traditional dress
5) ethnic educational programs in public
- Canada is the best and earliest example
of multiculturalism as public policy.
(constitutional recognition of
bilingualism and indigenous rights)
Critical vs. Difference
 Critical  Difference
Multiculturalism Multiculturalism

 Use diversity to  The

challenge basic
multiculturalism of
notions and
principles common cultural
to dominant and nationalists…for
minority cultures whom culture
alike, so as to reduces to a tag
create a vital, for ethnic identity
open, and and a license for
democratic common political and
Anthropology and Culture
 Classical approaches to culture
are enduring in society despite
critical turn within
 Evolutionary approaches to
culture (savage, barbarian,
 Nationalist approaches
(nation=unified language,
culture, religion)
Anthropology and Culture
 Critical approaches begin with “cultural
relativism” (e.g. no one language,
religion, family structure, or belief
system is better than any other)

 “Other fundamental anthropological

contributions to a more critical cultural
awareness (include) the rejection of the
essentialist identification of culture and
race…and the overthrow of evolutionst
notions of culture that held other
cultures to be “lower”…” (416)

 Imagined Communities (Benedict Anderson) -

the nation is an imagined community
Criticisms of
 Multiculturalisminterferes
with feminist movements
 Multiculturalism is defeatist
(e.g. Malik)
 Multiculturalism has become a
“politically correct” form of
racism (Ann Rand)
 May lead to “Balkanization”
The Production of
 Locality vs. Neighborhood
 Locality is a socially produced subject or
a “fragile social achievement” (179) that
requires maintenance. (Imagined community
- no “culture” is natural)
 Neighborhood refers to the actually
existing social forms in which locality…is
variably realized (179)
 “Even in the smallest of societies…the
relationship between the production of
local subjects and the neighborhoods in
which such subjects can be produced,
named, empowered to act socially is a
The Production of
Locality (2)
 Value for reconceiving ethnography
 1) it shifts the history of
ethnography from a history of
neighborhoods to a history of the
techniques for the production of
 2) it opens a new way to think about
the coproduction of indigenous
categories by intellectuals,
administrators, and missionaries
 3) it enables the ethnography of the
modern, and the production of
Global Production of
 The task of producing locality (as a
structure of feeling, a property of social
life, and an ideology of situated
community) is increasingly a struggle.

 1) the modern nation-state attempts to

define all neighborhoods under the sign of
its forms of allegiance and affiliation.
 2) the growing disjuncture between
territory, subjectivity, and social
 3) due to electronic mediation, the
erosion of the relationship between

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