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Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies
     

Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies

by Richard A., Shweder (Editor), Martha Minow (Editor), Hazel Rose Markus (Editor)
 

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Liberal democracies are based on principles of inclusion and tolerance. But how does the principle of tolerance work in practice in countries such as Germany, France, India, South Africa, and the United States, where an increasingly wide range of cultural groups holds often contradictory beliefs about appropriate social and family life practices? As these

Overview

Liberal democracies are based on principles of inclusion and tolerance. But how does the principle of tolerance work in practice in countries such as Germany, France, India, South Africa, and the United States, where an increasingly wide range of cultural groups holds often contradictory beliefs about appropriate social and family life practices? As these democracies expand to include peoples of vastly different cultural backgrounds, the limits of tolerance are being tested as never before. Engaging Cultural Differences explores how liberal democracies respond socially and legally to differences in the cultural and religious practices of their minority groups.

Building on such examples, the contributors examine the role of tolerance in practical encounters between state officials and immigrants, and between members of longstanding majority groups and increasing numbers of minority groups. The volume also considers the theoretical implications of expanding the realm of tolerance. Some contributors are reluctant to broaden the scope of tolerance, while others insist that the notion of "tolerance" is itself potentially confining and demeaning and that modern nations should aspire to celebrate cultural differences.

Coming to terms with ethnic diversity and cultural differences has become a major public policy concern in contemporary liberal democracies, as they struggle to adjust to burgeoning immigrant populations. Engaging Cultural Differences provides a compelling examination of the challenges of multiculturalism and reveals a deep understanding of the challenges democracies face as they seek to accommodate their citizens' diverse beliefs and practices.

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
A fresh attempt by scholars to tackle a central question of Western democracy: How should liberal societies respond to the cultural and religious practices of minority groups? In examining this challenge, the essays underscore the dilemmas inherent in efforts to balance commitments to liberty and equal rights with the goals of security, national identity, and community. Some chapters look at how immigrant groups import practices that challenge the limits of diversity and tolerance. Examples include the struggles over group rights in India, challenges by Muslims to traditions of church and state in France and Germany, and attempts by whites to "civilize" marriage customs in postapartheid South Africa. Other chapters ask how different traditions of law and culture can shape the accommodation of outside groups, suggesting that minorities are more easily accommodated in liberal democracies where cultural and religious differences can reside in a private sphere sharply separated from the public realm. These essays reveal complexities, dilemmas, and varied national experiences — quite an accomplishment in itself.
Booknews
What does mean and how does it work in practice, in such countries as the U.S., Germany, France, India, Norway, and South Africa? Twenty-five scholars<-->all but one from the U.S.<-->from the fields of law, anthropology, psychology, and political theory explore how liberal democracies do and should respond legally to differences in cultural and religious practices of minority group residents. The 21 essays explore the processes that create diversity, forms of cultural accommodation other than group status or rights, ways in which minority groups position themselves in relation to universal human rights claims, and the contrasting conceptions of group differences as they affect institutional and legal practices. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871547958
Publisher:
Russell Sage Foundation
Publication date:
12/28/2004
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
499
Product dimensions:
6.63(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

RICHARD A. SHWEDER, an anthropologist, is professor of human development at the University of Chicago.

MARTHA MINOW is professor of law at Harvard University.

HAZEL R. MARKUS is professor of psychology at Stanford University.

CONTRIBUTORS: Richard A. Shweder, Martha Minow, Hazel Rose Markus, Caroline Bledsoe, David L. Chambers, Jane Maslow Cohen, Joanna Davidson, Arthur N. Eisenberg, Karen Engle, Katherine Pratt Ewing, Heejung S. Kim, Corinne A. Kratz, Maivân Clech Lâm, Usha Menon, Victoria C. Plaut, Alison Dundes Renteln, Lloyd I. Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, Lawrence G. Sager, Austin Sarat, Claude M. Steele, Dorothy M. Steele, Nomi Stolzenberg, Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, and Unni Wikan.

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