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Multiculturalism Reconsidered: 'Culture and Equality' and its Critics

Paul Kelly (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-7456-2793-9
256 pages
December 2002, Polity
Multiculturalism Reconsidered:
Can multiculturalists be egalitarians and should egalitarians be multiculturalists? Is the absence of cultural recognition an injustice in the same way as the absence of individual rights or basic resources? These are some of the questions considered in this wide-ranging series of essays inspired by the political philosopher Brian Barry.

Multiculturalist political theorists and policy-makers argue that liberal egalitarianism fails to take seriously the role of culture and group identity in defining harms and cases of injustice. Because liberal egalitarians adopt a culturally neutral account of what principles and institutions of justice should distribute, they ignore an important way in which these norms actually reinforce injustice rather than eradicate it. A whole host of thinkers have used liberal egalitarianism’s neutrality on issues of culture to criticize contemporary theories of justice. This multicultural challenge to liberal egalitarianism has recently received a forceful response from Barry in his book Culture and Equality.

Drawing on an international cast from Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia, Multiculturalism Reconsidered puts Barry's challenge to the test. With contributions from Chandran Kukathas, James Tully, Bhikhu Parekh, Susan Mendus and Ian Shapiro, amongst others, and a response from Brian Barry, this book ranges widely over the issues raised by multiculturalism and egalitarianism.

This book will prove an indispensable resource for all those who wish to locate themselves in debates about equality, culture, identity and group rights.

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Introduction: Between Culture and Equality. (Paul Kelly).

1 Liberalism and the Accommodation of Group Claims. (Samuel Freeman).

2 Choice, Chance and Multiculturalism. (Susan Mendus).

3Liberalism, Equal Opportunities and Cultural Commitments. (David Miller).

4Defending some Dodos - equality and/or liberty? (Paul Kelly).

5 Equal Treatment, Exceptions and Cultural Diversity. (Simon Caney).

6 The Illiberal Liberal: Barry's Polemical attack on Multiculturalism. (James Tully).

7Culture, Equality and Diversity. (Judith Squires).

8Barry and the Limits (or dangers) of Liberalism. (Bhikhu Parekh).

9All must have Prizes: The Liberal Case for Interference in Cultural Practices. (Clare Chambers).

10Democratic Justice and Multicultural Recognition. (Ian Shapiro).

11The Life of Brian, or Now for Something Completely Difference Blind.(Chandran Kukathas).

12Second Thoughts - and Some First Thoughts Revived. (Brian Barry).

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Paul Kelly is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science
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A comprehensive exploration of the issues raised by multiculturalism and egalitarianism.

Engages with the new and forceful argument of leading name Brian Barry (as contained in Culture and Equality), that egalitarians cannot be multiculturalists.

Draws on an international cast from Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia

Includes contributions form Chandran Kukathas, James Tully, Bhikhu Parekh, Susan Mendus, Ian Shapiro and Brian Barry amongst others.

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"Brian Barry’s polemical assault on multiculturalism has provoked an impressive – and vigorous – set of responses. The individual contributions are of very high quality, while the volume as a whole is unusually coherent and productive. This is political theory at its best: entertaining, philosophically sophisticated and politically relevant. An excellent collection on a crucial issue." Adam Swift, Balliol College, Oxford

"In Culture and Equality Brian Barry set out to do a demolition job on multiculturalism ... Multiculturalism Reconsidered provides an opportunity for some of Barry's protagonists to answer back ... In general, there are some thoughtful responses worthy of more detailed consideration. "Gurharpal Singh, The Times Higher educatiion Supplement

"[This book] is a worthwhile addition to the ongoing intramural debate among liberals about multiculturalism." Canadian Journal of Political Science

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