Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

"From Mosaic to Multiversality": Repriming Multicultural Governance in a Postnational Canada

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

"From Mosaic to Multiversality": Repriming Multicultural Governance in a Postnational Canada

Article excerpt


The modernist politics of multicultural governance no longer resonate with authority in a postmulticultural era. Mosaic models of state multiculturalism are being contested by the changing nature of global transmigration and the proliferation of immigrant-driven differences. This paper argues that the transnational politics of multiversality in a globalizing and diversifying Canada are exerting pressure to rethink the limits of a "mosaic" multiculturalism (Mawani 2008; also Shome 2012). A "multiversal" multiculturalism is proposed instead as an alternative governance model for living together with a diversity-of-diversities ("multiversality") across shifting and intersecting contexts (Latham 2007/08; Vertovec 2010; Ramadan 2011). The paper concludes by exploring whether Canada can move beyond a mosaic multiculturalism whose tendency to conflate cultures into a singular commonality papers over transmigrant identities and intrasecting differences. Time will tell if Canada is ready for a multicultural 2.0 governance in advancing a framework that ensures differentiated differences are kept safe from--yet safe for--a postnational Canada (Sandercock 2003; also Parekh 2005).


La politique moderniste de gouvernance multiculturelle n'est plus en harmonie avec l'autorite dans une periode post-multiculturelle. La mosaique du multiculturalisme d'etat propose un modele mis a mal par la nature changeante de la transmigration mondiale et la proliferation de differences due a l'immigration. Dans cet article, nous soutenons que la politique transnationale de multiversatilite dans un Canada qui se mondialise et se diversifie, exerce une pression pour repenser les limites d'un multiculturalisme de 'mosaique' (Mawani 2008 et Shome 2012), ou 'multiversel'. Ce qui est propose a la place, c'est un modele alternatif de gouvernance pour vivre ensemble dans une diversite-des-diversites ('multiversalite'), qui englobe des contextes changeants et croises (Latham (2007/2008, Vertovec 2010 et Ramadan 2011). En conclusion, nous examinons si le Canada peut depasser un multiculturalisme de mosaique dont la tendance a assembler des cultures dans une standardisation unique masque des identites trans-migrantes et des differences croisees. Le temps dira si le Canada est pret a promouvoir une gouvernance muiticulturelle 2.0 structuree pour assurer que la differenciation des differences soit protegee de--et neanmoins pour--un avenir postnational (Sandercock 2003; aussi Parekh 2005).


To say we live in provocative and perplexing times is (to borrow a phrase) a statement of understated proportions. Cross-national linkages, because of accelerated globalization, inspire complex transmigratory networks that sustain cultural identities and social belongings across national borders (Karim 2006). The border-busting dynamics of transmigration are contesting conventional notions of nation-building since expressions of belonging and identity are no longer linked to the "nation" in a transnational era (Geislerova 2007). These transnational webs of connection also challenge the legitimacy of an exclusively national framework for immigrant integration (Mawani 2008; Castles and Miller 2009; Akesson 2010; Faist 2010; Inglis 2007). Threats to state sovereignty have prompted countries in the post 9/11 era to discipline differences by tightening conditions for naturalization, introducing tougher language/value requirements as preconditions for citizenship, militarizing borders, and imposing restrictions to deter unwanted immigration flows (Laegaard 2010). This combination of increased securitization with that of transmigratory dynamics cannot be taken lightly. The politics of transnationality not only pose questions about "what society is for"; they also blur territorial boundaries, foster cross-border movements of migrants in search of safety or success, undermine conventional patterns of multicultural governance, and siphon identities away from a strict national focus (Birt 2007; Jedwab 2007/08). …

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