European Journal of Political Theory 12 (3):271-287 (2013)

Magali Bessone
University of Rennes 1
The article will argue that, despite Will Kymlicka’s claims to the contrary, the concept of ‘multicultural toleration’ implicitly entails an essentialist concept of groups, which amounts to holding a negative ‘permission’, power-loaded conception of toleration and not a positive liberal ‘respect’ conception. This seems contradictory to the general goal of Kymlicka’s multiculturalism. This article will then argue that multicultural toleration is not a satisfactory concept, neither from a conceptual point of view (it is incoherent) nor from a practical point of view (it disregards important aspects of political life). Nonetheless, multiculturalism poses the question of toleration at the correct level of group relations. This article will try to sustain the double requirement of, on one hand, trying to place toleration in a collective frame and, on the other, refusing the essentialist concept of groups used by multiculturalism. The way out of this difficulty can be found in a critical ‘non-domination’ conception of toleration
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DOI 10.1177/1474885112465245
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