Pragmatism, Latino intercultural citizenship, and the transformation of American democracy

In Gregory Fernando Pappas (ed.), Pragmatism in the Americas. Fordham University Press (2011)

This chapter examines the connection between culture and democracy with an eye toward developing a foundation for American citizenship that is informed by the experiences of Latinos/as in the United States. It begins by surveying arguments from philosophers within the American pragmatist tradition that correlate the stability of a democratic political regime with habits, tastes, and attitudes of a given people. These thinkers, namely Horrace Kallen, Jane Adams, and John Dewey, have developed two models to conceptualize the relationship of immigrant communities to democratic citizenship and governance: cultural pluralism and multiculturalism. The chapter intends to demonstrate that Latino cultural citizenship is a form of cultural pluralism and, as such, does not seek to transform liberal representative democracy in any deep, significant sense. We can see this when we hold up Latino cultural citizenship to the radical challenge posed by progressive thinkers, such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr., who argued that social justice in the United States cannot be achieved unless we move beyond liberal multiculturalism, and the idea of what it means to be an American is altered to reflect the experiences of non-white peoples.
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DOI 10.5422/fordham/9780823233670.003.0015
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