Multiculturalism without Culture

Anne Phillips is a feminist theorist with some quite strong views (I previously read her book “Which Equalities Matter?”). In “Multiculturalism Without Culture”, she wrestles with a basic contradiction. On the one hand, “culture” matters. This is the central insight of multiculturalism: people’s views of themselves and their societies are filtered through culturally specific lenses, and to ignore this when making policy as to ignore people as they are. On the other hand, “culture” doesn’t even exist. No culture is internally homogeneous, and no person resides in only one culture. For example, a person can participate in British culture, university culture, gay culture, Muslim culture, Pakistani culture, and sports culture in a single day. To situate such a person in a single culture obscures more than it identifies. Her ideas on how to reconcile these two insights are very sophisticated, but mercifully jargon-free. She also draws primarily on legal examples so there are lots of vivid, real-life stories (and lots of nasty murders, too!) as she tries to build a “multiculturalism without culture.”

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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