Social Justice: Theories, Issues, and Movements

By Loretta Capeheart; Dragan Milovanovic | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 6

Multiculturalism, Globalism,
and Challenges to Developing
Forms of Justice

MULTICULTURALISM AND GLOBALISM are realities of our current society. Whether one is actively engaged in these processes or not they affect our social world and therefore our understandings of justice and social justice. Multiculturalism can be understood as the coming together of a variety of cultures within a space and time. Distinctions in culture can be expressed through language, religion, cuisine, family structure, lifestyles, and attire. While multiple cultures have existed throughout history, the overlapping of cultures was previously less common. The development of mass transportation, transnational industries, the Internet, and the pressures of immigration have allowed for an unprecedented convergence of cultures.

Like many new experiences, multiculturalism has created new challenges and opportunities within societies. Abu El-Haj (2002) warns of the usages of culture to reassert old racist notions in new ways. Her works specifically challenge our understanding of Muslim and Arab communities, but can be applied to many uses of the term “culture.” At this point it is important to know that while understandings of law and justice may be seated within cultural contexts, placing the blame for specific injustices upon a culture is problematic. As we will find through our examination of the literature, injustices are often imposed by social structures regardless of the language, religion, cuisine, or family structure of those inhabiting the structure.

Globalism expresses itself in our understanding of our place on the planet. While as individuals we may identify our citizenship within national boundaries, few corporations are fully bound within national borders. Even nations themselves are more likely to express themselves globally through organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, the G8, and other organizations.1 The global character of capital (money invested for the purpose of profit) is especially

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