About this topic
Summary Minority rights refers to rights that are granted to particular groups within a society, in particular Indigenous groups, religious groups, and ethnic groups.  These can either be rights that are granted to the group as a unit (collective rights) or to individuals insofar as they are members of the group (group-differentiated rights).  Philosophical attention to the issue of minority rights gained momentum in the 1990s, as part of a broader critique of color-blind theories of justice.  Advocates of minority rights claim that justice requires differential treatment for disadvantaged groups, be it in the form of affirmative action, exemptions from legal requirements, public support for cultural practices, or some form of political autonomy.
Key works Theories of minority rights can be roughly divided into those that work within the liberal tradition, seeking to show that the liberal commitment to equality and liberty requires the recognition of minority rights, and those that frame their defense of minority rights as part of an objection to liberalism.  The central figure working with the liberal tradition is Will Kymlicka, in particular his Kymlicka 1995 and Kymlicka 1989.  Key non-liberal works include Young 1990, Parekh 2000 and Tully 1995.  For an overarching objection to minority rights, see Barry 2001.  There are also a number of excellent edited collections focused on minority rights.  See in particular Sistare et al 2001, Shapiro & Kymlicka 1997 and Eisenberg & Spinner-Halev 2005
Introductions Good encyclopedia entries include Song forthcoming and Jones 2008.  Will Kymlicka also has a useful chapter on Multiculturalism in his 2001
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  1. Universal Thought, Eastern Facts: Scrutinizing National Minority Rights in Romania.Gabriel Andreescu - 2002 - In Will Kymlicka & Magda Opalski (eds.), Can Liberal Pluralism Be Exported?: Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe. Oxford University Press.
  2. A Critical Response to Will Kymlicka´s View of Multiculturalism.A. Anwarullah Bhuiyan - 2011 - Human Affairs 21 (2):129-139.
    The objective of this article is to consider how multiculturalism, minority rights, and nationbuilding have been defended by Will Kymlicka. For this purpose, I will first attempt to spell out the answers to the following questions: is it possible to defend minority rights in a liberal state? What is the problem regarding this defence of national minorities? Does anybody benefit from minority rights within a nationbuilding process? In order to find out the answer to these questions, I will first introduce (...)
  3. Minority Rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Conceptual Considerations.Fernando Arlettaz - 2013 - Jurisprudencija: Mokslo darbu žurnalas 20 (3):901-922.
    The article discusses the rights of minorities in the system of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It establishes a conceptual distinction between universal rights, specific rights of minorities in general and specific rights of particular minorities. Universal rights correspond to all individuals (e,g,, “no one shall be subjected to torture”) or all groups of a certain class (e.g., “all families are entitled to protection”). Minority groups and their members are entitled to these rights in the same way (...)
  4. Multicultural Accommodation and the Ideal of Non-Domination.Mira Bachvarova - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (6):1-22.
  5. 15 Associative Democracy and Minorities Within Minorities.Veit Bader - 2005 - In Avigail Eisenberg & Jeff Spinner-Halev (eds.), Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 319.
  6. Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism.Brian Barry - 2001 - Polity Press.
    All major western countries today contain groups that differ in their religious beliefs, customary practices or ideas about the right way in which to live. How should public policy respond to this diversity? In this important new work, Brian Barry challenges the currently orthodox answer and develops a powerful restatement of an egalitarian liberalism for the twenty-first century. Until recently it was assumed without much question that cultural diversity could best be accommodated by leaving cultural minorities free to associate in (...)
  7. Book Review:Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Will Kymlicka. [REVIEW]Brian Barry - 1996 - Ethics 107 (1):153-.
  8. Nationalities and National Minorities.Peter Berger - 1946 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 21 (3):529-531.
  9. How Groups Matter: Challenges of Toleration in Pluralistic Societies.Magali Bessone, Gideon Calder & Federico Zuolo - 2014 - Routledge.
    When groups feature in political philosophy, it is usually in one of three contexts: the redressing of past or current injustices suffered by ethnic or cultural minorities; the nature and scope of group rights; and questions around how institutions are supposed to treat a certain specific identity/cultural/ethnic group. What is missing from these debates is a comprehensive analysis of groups as both agents and objects of social policies. While this has been subject to much scrutiny by sociologists and social psychologists, (...)
  10. On Minorities: Cultural Rights.Homi Bhabha - 2000 - Radical Philosophy 100.
  11. Kulturni pluralizam i pravednost u recepciji Willa Kymlicke.Marita Brčić - 2008 - Filozofska Istrazivanja 28 (1):49-61.
    Shvaćajući kulturni pluralizam kao činjenicu suvremenog liberalno demokratskog društva, uočava se njegova problematičnost u odnosu na same liberalno-demokratske ideje. Demokracija polazi od prava većine, a liberalizam polazi od pojedinca kojemu su osigurana temeljna prava i dužnosti zanemarujući činjenicu njegova mogućeg pripadanja manjinskoj kulturi. Može li se odgovor na zahtjev kulturne različitosti pronaći isključivo u teoriji ljudskih prava ili je potrebno dopustiti postavljanje posebnih prava za pripadnike različitih manjinskih kultura? Je li takva posebna prava dovode u pitanje ideal jednakosti koji se (...)
  12. Minority Languages, a Cultural Legacy.M. Brenzinger - 1993 - Diogenes 41 (161):1-18.
  13. Autonomy and Culture: Will Kymlicka on Cultural Minority Rights.David C. Bricker - 1998 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):47-59.
  14. On Minorities.Chris Brink - 2005 - South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):153-175.
    In this paper I present a logical analysis of minorities and minority rights. I consider the question whether the classic social contract of a liberal democracy can be extended to include minorities without significant alteration to the accepted agreement between the individual and the state. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.24(3) 2005: 153-175.
  15. The Integration of Immigrants.Joseph Carens - 2005 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 2 (1):29-46.
    This paper considers normative questions about the integration of legally resident immigrants into contemporary liberal democratic states. First, I ask to what extent immigrants should enjoy the same rights as citizens and on what terms they should have access to citizenship itself. I defend two general principles: (1) differential treatment requires justi.cation; (2) the longer immigrants have lived in the receiving society, the stronger their claim to equal rights and eventually to full citizenship. Second, I explore additional forms of economic, (...)
  16. Minority Rights in Asia: A Comparative Legal Analysis.Joshua Castellino & Elvira Domnguez Redondo - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    Minority rights law has been an important axis for the evolution of international law itself. While much has been written about minority rights regimes in Europe, there is very little information available with regards to Asian experiences. Countries in Asia, with their diverse populations, are struggling with constructing legal systems that will deliver on the promise of equal rights to all its citizens. This book evaluates these attempts in four Asian states: India, China, Malaysia and Singapore by examining the theory (...)
  17. Droits humains et minorités culturelles.Amandine Catala - 2015 - Philosophiques 42 (2):231-250.
    J’aborde tout d’abord l’objection relativiste aux droits humains, afin de pouvoir ensuite me concentrer sur d’autres questions soulevées par la question des droits humains et des minorités culturelles. Le but de ma discussion est d’identifier et d’interroger les tensions potentielles entre minorités culturelles et droits humains, afin de montrer en quoi les droits humains peuvent protéger les minorités culturelles et, ultimement, de problématiser la manière dont cette protection peut se déployer. Dans ce but, je commence par clarifier deux notions-clés de (...)
  18. A Matter of Respect. On the Relation Between the Majority and Minorities in a Democracy.Emanuela Ceva & Federico Zuolo - manuscript
    The relations between the majority and minorities in a democracy have been standardly viewed as the main subject matter of toleration: the majority should refrain from using its dominant position to interfere with some minorities’ practices or beliefs despite its dislike or disapproval of such practices or beliefs. Can the idea of toleration provide us with the necessary resources to understand and respond to the problems arising out of majority/minorities relations in a democracy? We reply in the negative and make (...)
  19. Liberalisme en cultuur: Will Kymlicka over multicultureel burgerschap.Dries Chaerle & André Van de Putte - 1997 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 59 (2):215-252.
    This study examines Will Kymlicka's liberal defense of minority rights. The startingpoint of his argument is provided by a particular conception of individual freedom, which stresses the need for a context of choice in which it can be exercised. This contextof choice is conceived of as a societal culture, i.e. as „an intergenerational community, more or less institutionally complete, occupying a given territory or homeland, sharing a distinct language and history”. As far as societal-cultural membership is constitutive for the freedom (...)
  20. Derechos Humanos y Minorías: Un Acercamiento Analítico Neoilustrado.Paolo Comanducci - 1995 - Isonomía. Revista de Teoría y Filosofía Del Derecho 3 (20-21).
    El ensayo recontruye los diferentes conceptos de derechos humanos y de minorías. Centrándose luego sobre las minorías culturales, analiza las difíciles relaciones entre derechos humanos liberales y derechos culturales positivos.
  21. Liberalism, Aboriginal Rights, and Cultural Minorities.John R. Danley - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (2):168-185.
  22. The subject of minority rights new categories and a critique of will Kymlicka's group-differentiated rights.Palma Dante - 2014 - Ideas Y Valores 63 (155):191-217.
    Will Kymlicka ha sido considerado como compatibilizador de liberales y comunitaristas en cuanto a los derechos de las minorías. Su distinción entre derechos de grupo como protecciones externas y como restricciones internas buscó dar cuenta de las reivindicaciones minoritarias sin vulnerar el principio liberal de autonomía. En este artículo se buscan dos objetivos: primero, adoptar una perspectiva crítica, al afirmar que tal distinción soslaya el eje central de la discusión, esto es, la problemática de la titularidad del derecho, y, segundo, (...)
  23. Neutrality, Liberal Nation Building and Minority Cultural Rights.Zhidas Daskalovski - 2002 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (3):27-50.
    This essay tackles the question of whether liberal political theory can remain neutral and grant minority cultural rights. It is argued that although consequentialist neutrality is impossible to implement, justificatory neutrality does allow certain benefits to be guaranteed to minorities as rights ? although not as many as most multiculturalists demand. Particular attention is paid to the demands of minority members of exemptions from general laws. The article gives examples of how and why certain exemptions or revisions of general laws (...)
  24. Nations, Boundaries and Justice.Helder de Schutter - 2005 - Ethical Perspectives 12 (1):17-40.
    Will Kymlicka’s theory of minority rights has been most influential. Kymlicka distinguishes two types of ethnocultural minorities: national groups in a multinational state and ethnic groups in an immigrant society. This article focuses on the ‘multinational’ aspect of this paradigm. It investigates the extent to which Kymlicka’s justification of self-government rights for nations can offer a just guideline for the way in which we should accommodate cultural diversity generated by a plurality of national groups within one state. Should we regulate (...)
  25. Reflections on Minority Rights Politics for East Central European Countries.Panayote Dimitras & Nafsika Papanikolatos - 2002 - In Will Kymlicka & Magda Opalski (eds.), Can Liberal Pluralism Be Exported?: Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe. Oxford University Press.
  26. Multination Federalism and Minority Rights in Sri Lanka.Rohan Edrisinha - 2005 - In Will Kymlicka & Baogang He (eds.), Multiculturalism in Asia. Oxford University Press. pp. 244.
  27. Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity. Edited by Avigail Eisenberg & Jeff Spiner-Halevy . Pp. Xii, 390, Cambridge University Press, 2005, $43.67. [REVIEW]Anthony Egan - 2012 - Heythrop Journal 53 (3):534-535.
  28. 12 Identity and Liberal Politics: The Problem of Minorities Within Minorities.Avigail Eisenberg - 2005 - In Avigail Eisenberg & Jeff Spinner-Halev (eds.), Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 249.
  29. Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity.Avigail Eisenberg & Jeff Spinner-Halev (eds.) - 2005 - cambridge university press.
  30. Minority Rights and the Preservation of Languages.Anthony Ellis - 2005 - Philosophy 80 (2):199-217.
    Do minority groups have a right to the preservation of their language? I argue that the rights of groups are always reducible to the rights of individuals. In that case, the question whether minorities have a right to the preservation of their language is a question of whether individuals have a right to it. I argue that, in the only relevant sense of ‘right’, they do not. They may have an interest in the preservation of their language, but, if so, (...)
  31. Applied Political Philosophy at the Rubicon: Will Kymlica's Multicultural Citizenship.A. Favell - 1998 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (2):255-278.
    Will Kymlicka's Multicultural Citizenship represents an extraordinary attempt to put applied political philosophy to work in the empirical context of contemporary political debates about immigration and ethnic minorities in western society. This paper explores the methodological and interpretative difficulties of combining normative and empirical goals, in a critical discussion of the examples Kymlicka makes of multicultural issues in France, Britain and the US. It goes on to argue that these weaknesses lie in the Rawlsian influence in Kymlicka's work, and that (...)
  32. Past Wrongs and Liberal Justice.Michael Freeman - 2002 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (2):201-220.
    Liberal theories of justice have often been unable to include the recognition of minority rights or of multiculturalism because of their emphasis on individuals. In contrast, recent theories of cultural recognition and minority rights have underestimated the tensions between group and individual rights. It is precisely the incorporation of past wrongs and their impact on present politics that can advance the liberal theory of justice for cultural minorities and their members.
  33. Human Rights and Minority Rights in the European Union by Kirsten Shoraka: London and New York: Routledge, 2010 (Book Review).David J. Galbreath - 2013 - Human Rights Review 14 (2):159-160.
  34. Minority Language Education.Ofelia García - 2005 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. pp. 159--163.
  35. Why Linguistic Territorialism in the UK Does Not Justify Differential Minority Language Rights.Shaun Gates - 2010 - Ethics and Education 5 (1):3-13.
    Despite the declarations of international documents on minority language rights, provision is patchy for supporting minority languages in the UK, where since the 1980s governments have deliberately or unwittingly greatly raised the profile and comparative standing of English. The partial exception to this trend has been the treatment of indigenous/regional minority languages, stimulated by policies of devolution intended to revive or create a sense of national identity, and to redress perceived historic linguistic injustices. In a multicultural state or region these (...)
  36. Book Review:The Rights of Minority Cultures. Will Kymlicka. [REVIEW]Robert E. Goodin - 1997 - Ethics 107 (2):356-.
  37. Minorities and Language.D. Gorter - 2006 - In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. pp. 156--159.
  38. Pierre Manent et la gestion de la diversité religieuse.Jérôme Gosselin-Tapp - 2018 - Ithaque 22:111-134.
    Cet article se propose de situer le livre Situation de la France (2015) de Pierre Manent dans le débat contemporain sur la gestion de la diversité religieuse, et ce, à partir de deux principales thèses interprétatives. La première thèse est que le modèle de Manent s’appuie sur une forme de collectivisme méthodologique. La seconde thèse est que la place que Manent accorde au discours religieux dans la « conversation civique » est justifiée par une volonté de faire contrepoids à la (...)
  39. La nation pluraliste : Repenser la diversité religieuse au Québec.Jérôme Gosselin-Tapp & Michel Seymour - 2018 - Montréal, QC, Canada: Presses de l'Université de Montréal.
    Depuis 2006, le Québec débat âprement des règles gouvernant la laïcité de ses institutions et se trouve confronté à deux modèles apparemment irréconciliables : le républicanisme « jacobin » et le libéralisme individualiste, issus respectivement de la France et du Canada. En s’inspirant de la pensée du philosophe politique John Rawls, les auteurs proposent ici d’explorer une voie médiane mieux adap­tée à l’expérience québécoise. Dans ses travaux tardifs, Rawls met en avant une forme de libéralisme républicain affranchi de l’indi­vidualisme normatif (...)
  40. Rights of Exit.Leslie Green - 1998 - Legal Theory 4 (2):165.
    Social groups claim authority to impose restrictions on their members that the state cannot. Churches, ethnic groups, minority nations, universities, social clubs, and families all regulate belief and behavior in ways that would be obviously unjust in the context of a state and its citizens. All religions impose doctrinal requirements; many also enforce sexist practices and customs. Some universities impose stringent speech and conduct codes on their students and faculty. Parochial schools discriminate in their hiring practices. Those who complain about (...)
  41. Juha Raikka, Ed., Do We Need Minority Rights: Conceptual Issues Reviewed By.Jennifer Greene - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18 (1):42-47.
  42. Juha Raikka, Ed., Do We Need Minority Rights: Conceptual Issues. [REVIEW]Jennifer Greene - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18:42-47.
  43. The Multicultural Mystique: The Liberal Case Against Diversity, by H. E. Baber. [REVIEW]Fuat Gursozlu - 2013 - Teaching Philosophy 36 (3):300-303.
  44. Avigail Eisenberg and Jeff Spinner-Halev, Eds., Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity Reviewed By.Heta Aleksandra Gylling - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26 (2):94-97.
  45. Women and Minorities in Philosophy.Sven Ove Hansson - 2010 - Theoria 76 (1):1-3.
  46. Minority Rights with Chinese Characteristics.Baogang He - 2005 - In Will Kymlicka & Baogang He (eds.), Multiculturalism in Asia. Oxford University Press. pp. 56--79.
  47. Confucianism Versus Liberalism Over Minority Rights: A Critical Response to Will Kymlicka.Baogang He - 2004 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 31 (1):103–123.
  48. Minority Rights : A Confucian Critique of Kymlicka's Theory of Nonassimilation.Baogang He - 2003 - In Kim Chong Chong, Sor-Hoon Tan & C. L. Ten (eds.), The Moral Circle and the Self: Chinese and Western Approaches. Open Court.
  49. Culture: Choice or Circumstance?Joseph Heath - 1998 - Constellations 5 (2):183-200.
    In this paper, I would like to discuss two recent attempts to incorporate groupdifferentiated rights and entitlements into a broadly liberal conception of distributive justice. The first is John Roemer’s “pragmatic theory of responsibility,” and the second is Will Kymlicka’s defense of minority rights in “multinational” states.1 Both arguments try to show that egalitarianism, far from requiring a “color-blind” system of institutions and laws that is insensitive to ethnic, linguistic or subcultural differences, may in fact mandate special types of rights, (...)
  50. Authenticity and Cultural Rights.Burke Hendrix - 2008 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2):181-203.
    Should states extend customized political protections to 'minority nations' or 'minority cultures'? Part of the answer depends on whether the identities at stake are merely political artifacts created or exploited by 'ethnic entrepreneurs', or whether they are 'authentic' expression of an ongoing collective life. This essay argues that the real character of groups is persistently difficult to recognize, and that 'authenticity' is a problematic notion even in the abstract. Given these uncertainties, the essay argues that states should generally treat only (...)
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