Cultural Identity and Political Ethics

Cultural Identity and Political Ethics

Cultural Identity and Political Ethics

Cultural Identity and Political Ethics

Synopsis

Today people's cultural identities are increasingly invoked in support of political claims, and these claims commonly lead to acrimony and violence. But what is 'cultural identity', and what is its political significance?

Excerpt

Hermann Goering is credited with saying that whenever he heard the word ‘culture’ he reached for his revolver. These days, people who reach for revolvers – or heavier weaponry – frequently justify their violent actions by using that word themselves with anything but distaste. For in today’s world people’s cultural identities are increasingly invoked in support of their political claims. Claims to some form of political recognition for a group on the basis of its members’ supposed cultural identity are commonplace, ranging from demands for separate statehood for putatively national groups to an insistence that differences in a multicultural society are acknowledged, and even celebrated, in its political arrangements and processes. This does not apply only to cultural minorities. There is an implied demand, for example, that the shared identity of those who subscribe to ‘the values of Western civilisation’ should be recognised and protected by political – and military – action. Arguments of a philosophical kind are frequently advanced to justify claims which are grounded in cultural identity. While these vary in detail, many possess a common structure. It is that their cultural identity is of cardinal importance for people, and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.