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Theories of Multiculturalism: An Introduction



Theories of Multiculturalism: An Introduction

George Crowder

ISBN: 978-0-745-63626-9 November 2013 Polity 256 Pages


Multiculturalism is one of the most controversial ideas in contemporary politics. In this new book George Crowder examines some of the leading responses to multiculturalism, both supportive and critical, found in the work of recent political theorists.

The book provides a clear and accessible introduction to a diverse array of thinkers who have engaged with multiculturalism. These include Will Kymlicka, whose account of cultural rights is seminal, liberal critics of multiculturalism such as Brian Barry and Susan Okin, and multiculturalist critics of liberalism including Charles Taylor, Iris Marion Young, James Tully, and Bhikhu Parekh. In addition the discussion covers a wide range of other perspectives on multiculturalism - libertarian, feminist, democratic, nationalist, cosmopolitan - and rival accounts of Islamic and Confucian political culture.

While offering a balanced assessment of these theories, Crowder also argues the case for a distinctive liberal-pluralist approach to multiculturalism, combining a liberal framework that emphasises the importance of personal autonomy with the value pluralism of thinkers such as Isaiah Berlin.

This clear and comprehensive account will be an indispensable textbook for students in politics, sociology and political and social theory.



1 Universalism, Relativism and Culture

2 Liberal Rights to Culture: Kymlicka's Theory

3 Liberal Critics of Cultural Rights

4 Nationalists and Cosmopolitans

5 Beyond Liberalism?

6 Democrats

7 Value Pluralists

8 Global Cultures

9 A Liberal-Pluralist Approach



"Crowder’s book is an excellent overview of the multicultural literature: it is well written, fair minded and even tempered, and thoughtful. While this book reviews the multicultural literature, Crowder does not shy away from offering his own measured views of the many arguments he appraises.  This is a state of the art book."
Jeff Spinner-Halev, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Crowder pulls off the difficult task of providing a clear, fair and balanced account of the main approaches to multiculturalism while providing a distinctive liberal–pluralist view of his own. A real tour de force that manages to combine accessibility for the student and originality for the expert."
Richard Bellamy, University College London

"A magnificent achievement and doubtless will become a key text for some while to come."
Bob Stillwell, University of East Anglia