Multicultural claims and equal respect

Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (3-4):441-450 (2010)
Abstract
In this article the author intends to provide general normative guidelines which ought to inform policies concerning the most controversial multicultural claims for a liberal democracy. In order to do that, she proposes a general reconsideration of the struggle of cultures and identities which makes up the stuff of multiculturalism. She suggests that instead of focusing on the issue of compatibility, the adequate viewpoint from which considering multicultural claims should be justice and, within justice, the principle of equal respect (ER). The reference to ER is widespread in the literature on multiculturalism, but it does not specify what should be the object of ER: persons and their dignity, or cultures/religions/identities and their members? The alternative is then examined and the author argues in favour of an interpretation of ER for persons which considers persons as they are, given their identities and differences. Finally, the author provides a typology of multicultural claims, ranked on a scale of different levels of disrespect, which consequently require different kinds of response. As a result, one is invited to reflect on the how beside the what , on the procedures and attitudes beside the benefits and measures , and not only for the pragmatic reasons of finding a relatively easy way out, but also for principled reasons of justice
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