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Summary Multiculturalism and feminism have a tense relationship.  While much of the philosophical defense of multiculturalism has been presented in terms that are amenable to feminist concerns, a number of feminist criticisms of multiculturalism have emerged in recent years.  In particular, some feminists have objected that the protection of cultural practices frequently comes at the expense of gender equality.  Issues that crystalise this tension include the burqa ban, religious education, and female genital mutilation.
Key works A key feminist critique of multiculturalism is Okin 1999 (see also her Okin 1998 and Okin 2002).  Other influential works include Spinner‐Halev 2001, Phillips 2007, Deveaux 2006, Meyers 2001 and Shachar 2001
Introductions The best starting point for an overview of this topic is the collection of essays in Cohen, Howard 1999
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  1. Lawrence Blum (2001). Joshua Cohen, Matthew Howard, and Martha C. Nussbaum, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?:Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Ethics 111 (3):622-625.
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  2. Clare Chambers, Autonomy and Equality in Cultural Perspective: Response to Sawitri Saharso.
    In “Feminist ethics, autonomy and the politics of multiculturalism”, Sawitri Saharso argues that the feminist concern to protect women’s autonomy legitimates and permits two practices which might otherwise seem antithetical to feminism: hymen repair surgery and sex-selective abortion. Sex-selective abortion is given pragmatic support: since it is rare in the Netherlands (the focus of Saharso’s paper), and since limitations on abortion would adversely affect the autonomy of women who sought an abortion for other reasons, Saharso concludes that Dutch law ought (...)
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  3. Clare Chambers (2004). Are Breast Implants Better Than Female Genital Mutilation? Autonomy, Gender Equality and Nussbaum's Political Liberalism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (3):1-33.
    This essay considers the tension between political liberalism and gender equality in the light of social construction and multiculturalism. The tension is exemplified by the work of Martha Nussbaum, who tries to reconcile a belief in the universality of certain liberal values such as gender equality with a political liberal tolerance for cultural practices that violate gender equality. The essay distinguishes between first? and second?order conceptions of autonomy, and shows that political liberals mistakenly prioritise second?order autonomy. This prioritisation leads political (...)
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  4. Alan M. S. J. Coffee (2013). Two Spheres of Domination: Republican Theory, Social Norms and the Insufficiency of Negative Freedom. Contemporary Political Theory (1):45.
    Republicans understand freedom as the guaranteed protection against any arbitrary use of coercive power. This freedom is exercised within a political community, and the concept of arbitrariness is defined with reference to the actual ideas of its citizens about what is in their shared interests. According to many current defenders of the republican model, this form of freedom is understood in strictly negative terms representing an absence of domination. I argue that this assumption is misguided. First, it is internally inconsistent. (...)
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  5. Gerald Doppelt (2002). Can Traditional Ethical Theory Meet the Challenges of Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Environmentalism? Journal of Ethics 6 (4):383-405.
    This paper aims to evaluate thechallenges posed to traditional ethical theoryby the ethics of feminism, multiculturalism,and environmentalism. I argue that JamesSterba, in his Three Challenges to Ethics,provides a distorted assessment by trying toassimilate feminism, multiculturalism, andenvironmentalism into traditional utilitarian,virtue, and Kantian/Rawlsian ethics – which hethus seeks to rescue from their alleged``biases.'''' In the cases of feminism andmulticulturalism, I provide an alternativeaccount on which these new critical discourseschallenge the whole paradigm or conception ofethical inquiry embodied in the tradition.They embrace different questions, (...)
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  6. Avigail Eisenberg & Jeff Spinner-Halev (eds.) (2005). Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity. Cambridge University Press.
  7. Luara Ferracioli (2013). Challenging the Burqa Ban. Journal of Intercultural Studies 34 (1):89-101.
    Following the successful campaign to have the burqa and niqab banned from public use in France, and the continuing advocacy to have these garments banned in other Western liberal societies, I examine whether the two strongest challenges to the burqa and niqab succeed in justifying a ban on these forms of veil. Although I argue that they both fail in supporting a ban, the fact that some Muslim women may be coerced into full veiling gives liberal states a moral duty (...)
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  8. Nancy Fraser (1996). Multiculturalism and Gender Equity: The U.S. "Difference" Debates Revisited. Constellations 3 (1):61-72.
  9. Marilyn Friedman (1995). Multicultural Education and Feminist Ethics. Hypatia 10 (2):56 - 68.
    Feminist ethics supports the contemporary educational trend toward increased multiculturalism and a diminished emphasis on the Western canon. First, I outline a feminist ethical justification for this development. Second, I argue that Western canon studies should not be altogether abandoned in a multicultural curriculum. Third, I suggest that multicultural education should help combat oppression in addition to simply promoting awareness of diversity. Fourth, I caution against an arrogant moralism in the teaching of multiculturalism.
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  10. Evelien Geerts, An Analysis of Susan Moller Okin’s Problematic Approach to Multiculturalism. A Feminist Comprehensive Liberalism Gone Wrong.
    In this paper, I looked into the debate between feminism and multiculturalism via the works of Susan Moller Okin, Will Kymlicka and Martha C. Nussbaum. After analyzing Susan Okin's position in "Is Multiculturalism Bad For Women?", I tried to locate Okin's problematic stance towards multiculturalism in her specific form of feminist comprehensive liberalism, whilst defending Nussbaum's less problematic version of political liberalism.
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  11. Evelien Geerts, A Philosophical Analysis of the Problematical Feminist-Liberal Approaches to the Phenomenon of Multiculturalism. Down with Feminist Liberalism?
    In this paper, two theories of feminist liberalism (Okin and Nussbaum) are evaluated from a multicultural-feminist perspective. This paper argues that Ayelet Shachar's multicultural feminism offers us a better theoretical philosophical model to cope with gender and multicultural issues than feminist comprehensive liberalism and political liberalism do.
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  12. Sneja Gunew (1993). Feminism and the Politics of Irreducible Differences: Multiculturalism/Ethnicity/Race. In Sneja Marina Gunew & Anna Yeatman (eds.), Feminism and the Politics of Difference. Allen & Unwin 1--19.
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  13. Ranjoo Seodu Herr (2008). Cultural Claims and the Limits of Liberal Democracy. Social Theory and Practice 34 (1):25-48.
    Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson’s theory of deliberative democracy has been widely influential and favorably viewed by many as a successful attempt to combine procedural and substantive aspects of democracy, while remaining quintessentially liberal. Although I admit that their conception is one of the strongest renditions of liberal democracy, I argue that it is inadequate in radically multicultural societies that house non-liberal cultural minorities. By focusing on Gutmann’s position on minority claims of culture in the liberal West, which follows from (...)
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  14. Ranjoo Seodu Herr (2004). A Third World Feminist Defense of Multiculturalism. Social Theory and Practice 30 (1):73-103.
    Many influential Western feminists of diverse backgrounds have expressed concerns that multiculturalism, while strengthening the power of racial ethnic minorities vis-à-vis the majority, worsens the position of its most vulnerable members, women. Despite their good intentions, these feminists have been consistently dismissive of the voices of racial ethnic women, many of whom argue for the importance of sustaining their own “illiberal” cultures within the Western context. I offer a Third World feminist defense of multiculturalism by paying attention to these women (...)
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  15. Ranjoo Seodu Herr (2004). A Third World Feminist Defense of Multiculturalism. Social Theory and Practice 30 (1):73-103.
    Many influential Western feminists of diverse backgrounds have expressed concerns that multiculturalism, while strengthening the power of racial ethnic minorities vis-à-vis the majority, worsens the position of its most vulnerable members, women. Despite their good intentions, these feminists have been consistently dismissive of the voices of racial ethnic women, many of whom argue for the importance of sustaining their own “illiberal” cultures within the Western context. I offer a Third World feminist defense of multiculturalism by paying attention to these women (...)
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  16. Nancy S. Jecker (2003). New Challenges for Ethics Consultation: Combining Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Caring. Public Affairs Quarterly 17 (2):83-95.
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  17. Cynthia Kaufman (2002). Book Review: Susan Moller Okin. Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999. [REVIEW] Hypatia 17 (4):228-232.
  18. Chandran Kukathas (forthcoming). Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs: Is Feminism Bad for Multiculturalism? Public Affairs Quarterly.
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  19. Chandran Kukathas (2001). Is Feminism Bad for Multiculturalism? Public Affairs Quarterly 15 (2):83-98.
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  20. Michelle Renee Matisons (2003). Feminism and Multiculturalism. Social Theory and Practice 29 (4):655-664.
  21. Monica Mookherjee (2008). Autonomy, Force and Cultural Plurality. Res Publica 14 (3):147-168.
    Within now prolific debates surrounding the compatibility of feminism and multiculturalism in liberal societies, the need arises for a normative conception of women’s self-determination that does not violate the self-understandings or values of women of different backgrounds and forms of life. With reference to the recent British debate about forced marriage, this article proposes an innovative approach to this problem in terms of the idea of ‘plural autonomy’. While the capacity for autonomy is plural, in the sense of varying across (...)
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  22. Monica Mookherjee (2005). Review Article: Feminism and Multiculturalism—Putting Okin and Shachar in Question. Journal of Moral Philosophy 2 (2):237-241.
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  23. Siobhan Mullally (2004). Feminism and Multicultural Dilemmas in India: Revisiting the Shah Bano Case. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 24 (4):671-692.
    Debates in India following on from the Shah Bano case highlight the extent to which gender equality may be compromised by yielding to the dominant voices within a particular religion or cultural tradition. As the Indian Supreme Court noted in Danial Latifi & Anr v Union of India, the pursuit of gender justice raises questions of a universal magnitude. Responding to those questions requires an appeal to norms that claim a universal legitimacy. Liberal feminist demands for a uniform civil code, (...)
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  24. Uma Narayan & Sandra Harding (1998). Introduction. Border Crossings: Multicultural and Postcolonial Feminist Challenges to Philosophy (Part I). Hypatia 13 (2):1-6.
  25. Aletta J. Norval (1998). Review Essay : The New Democracy: Feminism Between Multiculturalism and Anti-Essentialism: Jodi Dean (Ed.) Feminism and the New Democracy: Resiting the Political (London: Sage Publications, 1997). Pp. 274. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Social Criticism 24 (6):127-132.
  26. Susan Moller Okin (2007). Mistresses of Their Own Destiny ": Group Rights, Gender, and Realistic Rights of Exit. In Randall R. Curren (ed.), Philosophy of Education: An Anthology. Blackwell Pub. 205-230.
  27. Susan Moller Okin (2005). Multiculturalism and Feminism: No Simple Question, No Simple Answers. In Avigail Eisenberg & Jeff Spinner-Halev (eds.), Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity. Cambridge University Press
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  28. Susan Moller Okin (2002). “Mistresses of Their Own Destiny”: Group Rights, Gender, and Realistic Rights of Exit. Ethics 112 (2):205-230.
  29. Susan Moller Okin (1999). Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? In Howard Cohen (ed.), Hypatia. 228-232.
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  30. Susan Moller Okin (1998). Feminism and Multiculturalism: Some Tensions. Ethics 108 (4):661-684.
  31. Susan Moller Okin (1998). Multiculturalism and Feminism: Some Tensions. In Stephen Everson (ed.), Ethics. Cambridge University Press 661-84.
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  32. Susan Moller Okin (1998). Feminism, Women's Human Rights, and Cultural Differences. Hypatia 13 (2):32 - 52.
    The recent global movement for women's human rights has achieved considerable re-thinking of human rights as previously understood. Since many of women's rights violations occur in the private sphere of family life, and are justified by appeals to cultural or religious norms, both families and cultures (including their religious aspects) have come under critical scrutiny.
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  33. Susan Moller Okin (1994). Gender Inequality and Cultural Differences. Political Theory 22 (1):5-24.
  34. Candrakalā Pāḍiyā (2011). Theorizing Feminism: A Cross-Cultural Exploration. Rawat Publications.
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  35. Anne Phillips (2007). Multiculturalism Without Culture. Princeton University Press.
    In this book, she offers a new way of addressing dilemmas of justice and equality in multiethnic, multicultural societies, intervening at this critical moment when so many Western countries are poised to abandon multiculturalism.
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  36. Roland Pierik (2004). Ayelet Shachar: Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women’s Rights. [REVIEW] Political Theory 32 (4):585-589.
  37. Rupa Reddy (2008). Gender, Culture and the Law: Approaches to 'Honour Crimes' in the UK. [REVIEW] Feminist Legal Studies 16 (3):305-321.
    This article examines the debate on whether to analyse ‘honour crimes’ as gender-based violence, or as cultural tradition, and the effects of either stance on protection from and prevention of these crimes. In particular, the article argues that the categorisation of honour-related violence as primarily cultural ignores its position within the wider spectrum of gender violence, and may result in a number of unfortunate side-effects, including lesser protection of the rights of women within minority communities, and the stigmatisation of those (...)
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  38. Ayelet Shachar (2001). Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women's Rights. Cambridge University Press.
    Cultural Differences and Women's Rights Ayelet Shachar. (drawing on a group's desire to maintain property within the community), and the state might hold the authority over demarcation (drawing on state traditions to protect the status of ...
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  39. Jeff Spinner-Halev (2001). Feminism, Multiculturalism, Oppression, and the State. Ethics 112 (1):84-113.
  40. Jeff Spinner‐Halev (2001). Feminism, Multiculturalism, Oppression, and the State. Ethics 112 (1):84-113.
  41. James P. Sterba (2001). Three Challenges to Ethics: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism. Oxford University Press.
    In this unique work, James P. Sterba argues that traditional ethics has yet to confront the three significant challenges posed by environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism. He maintains that while traditional ethics has been quite successful at dealing with the problems it faces, it has not addressed the possibility that its solutions to these problems are biased in favor of humans, men, and Western culture. In Three Challenges to Ethics: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism, Sterba examines each of these challenges. In the (...)
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  42. Muhammad Velji (2015). Change Your Look, Change Your Luck: Religious Self-Transformation and Brute Luck Egalitarianism. Res Philosophica 92 (2):453-471.
    My intention in this paper is to reframe the practice of veiling as an embodied practice of self-development and self-transformation. I argue that practices like these cannot be handled by the choice/chance distinction relied on by those who would restrict religious minority accommodations. Embodied self-transformation necessarily means a change in personal identity and this means the religious believer cannot know if they will need religious accommodation when they begin their journey of piety. Even some luck egalitarians would find leaning exclusively (...)
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  43. Jennifer Warriner (2011). The Future of Political Theory? A Review of Toward a Humanist Justice: The Political Philosophy of Susan Moller Okin. Edited by Debra Satz and Rob Reich and Women's Rights as Multicultural Claims: Reconfiguring Gender and Diversity in Political Philosophy. By Monica Mookherjee. Hypatia 26 (4):864-871.
  44. Iris Marion Young (1986). The Ideal of Community and the Politics of Difference. Social Theory and Practice 12 (1):1-26.