Multiculturalism appears to be in terminal crisis. It has been blamed for undermining national identity, diluting social cohesion, creating ethnic ghettos and cultural fragmentation, providing fertile ground for Islamic radicalism, encouraging perverse 'political correctness', and restricting liberal freedoms of expression, amongst other things. The public debate over multiculturalism has polarised opinion amongst the general public, policy makers, and politicians.
But how much real evidence, beyond tabloid headlines and anecdotes, exists for these claims?
In this Very Short Introduction, Ali Rattansi considers the actual evidence from social science research to provide a balanced assessment of the truth and falsity of the charges against multiculturalism. Dispelling many myths in the process, he also warns about the dangers that lurk in an uncritical endorsement of multiculturalism, and concludes by arguing that it is time to move on to a form of 'interculturalism'.
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Ali Rattansi was educated at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. His publications include Racism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2007), Race, Culture, and Difference (Sage 1992), and Racism, Modernity, and Identity (Polity Press, 1994).
Introduction ; 1. What is multiculturalism? ; 2. Is multiculturalism bad for women? ; 3. Is multiculturalism responsible for social disintegration, ghettos and 'parallel lives'? ; 4. Ethnic minority integration, class inequality and 'community cohesion' ; 5. National identity, belonging and 'the Muslim question' ; 6. Moving on: multiculturalism, interculturalism and transnationalism in a new global era ; References ; Further Reading