Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies

Synopsis

Does the increasing politicization of ethnic and racial diversity of Western societies threaten to undermine the welfare state? This volume is the first systematic attempt to explore this linkage between "the politics of recognition" and "the politics of redistribution".

Excerpt

Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka

The past thirty years have witnessed a dramatic change in the way many Western democracies deal with issues of ethnocultural diversity. In the past, ethnocultural diversity was often seen as a threat to political stability, and hence as something to be discouraged by public policies. Immigrants, national minorities, and indigenous peoples were all subject to a range of policies intended to either assimilate or marginalize them.

During the last decades of the twentieth century, however, many Western democracies abandoned these earlier policies, and shifted towards a more accommodating approach to diversity. This is reflected, for example, in the widespread adoption of multiculturalism policies for immigrant groups, the acceptance of territorial autonomy and language rights for national minorities, and the recognition of land claims and selfgovernment rights for indigenous peoples.

We will refer to all such policies as 'multiculturalism policies' or MCPs. This term covers a very wide range of policies, and we will discuss some of the important differences between them in Chapter 2. But what they all have in common is that they go beyond the protection of the basic civil and political rights guaranteed to all individuals in a liberal-democratic state, to also extend some level of public recognition and support for ethnocultural minorities to maintain and express their distinct identities and practices.

The adoption of MCPs has been and remains controversial, for a variety of reasons. One line of critique has been philosophical. Critics argue that . . .

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