Frontiers of Diversity: Explorations in Contemporary Pluralism

By Avery Plaw | Go to book overview

Invention as Intervention: Negotiating the Margins of
Pluralism

Vijay Devadas

Abstract

This paper animates the challenge posed by pluralism to disrupt the homogenisation of the social scene and foreshadows an inherent paradox in pluralism that limits its radical creativity. Both these concerns are addressed through recourse to the terrain of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is double-edged: firstly, it sets up the terms of cultural engagement and negotiation that are founded upon and legitimated through the political doctrine of pluralism. However, because pluralism is entangled in an inhibiting paradox, the radical possibilities of multiculturalism are arrested. To leave this paradox unaddressed is to return to a structure that is singular and homogenous. It fosters the materialisation of an exclusionary agenda, which raises questions about pushing the limiting boundaries of pluralism, dealing with the paradox, and challenging the articulation of solidarities in the name of multiculturalism. To address these questions, I propose the notion of invention as intervention. The argument is that invention, as going to work, as translation, gestures to a process of permanent revolution, of endless movement, and transformation. The upshot of this is that pluralism is heterogenised, critically self-conscious, and most crucially, called to bear witness to its own injustices and to continue to extend the discourse of cultural pluralism.

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