Liberalism and Multiculturalism

Ethical Perspectives 4 (1):3-14 (1997)

Abstract
After 1945, liberalism in a broad sense that I shall define in a moment, became an almost unquestioned basis of thinking about politics in English-speaking political philosophy. Over the past twenty years or so, however, this liberalism has been subjected to a number of challenges. Many of these can be brought under the umbrella of ‘multiculturalism’. The kind of claim typically made in the name of multiculturalism — or, as it is sometimes called, the ‘politics of difference’ — is that the self-image of liberalism as a tolerant and open creed is inaccurate. In fact, it is said, liberalism imposes a false universality that discriminates against minorities of all kinds.The most systematic statement of this set of ideas that I know of is to be found in a book by the American political theorist Iris Marion Young, entitled Justice and the Politics of Difference. I shall take this as my text, when I need to refer to one. But I should add that there are many other sources for the same ideas, especially in the United States
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DOI 10.2143/EP.4.1.563012
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