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Body of Knowledge

The Multiculturalism of Fear
by Jacob T. Levy

Abstract:
This work argues for a liberal account of multiculturalism, which draws on a liberalism of fear, like that articulated by Judith Shklar and inspired by Montesquieu. Liberalism should not be centrally concerned either with preserving or with transcending cultural communities, practices, and identities. Rather, it should focus on mitigating evils such as interethnic civil wars, cruel practices internal to cultural communities, and state violence against ethnic minorities. This "śmulticulturalism of fear' must be grounded in the realities of ethnic politics and ethnic conflict. It must therefore take seriously the importance, which persons feel their ethnic identities and cultural practices to have, without falling into a celebration of cultural belonging. Levy argues against nationalist and multicultural theories that accord significant moral weight to cultural communities as such. Yet he also insists that the challenges of life in a multicultural world cannot be met with appeals to cosmopolitanism, with attempts to deny the importance that particularist identities and practices have to individual persons and to social life.

Publication Type: Authored Book: 280 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press (2000)
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom
Language: English
ISBN: 100-19-829712-2

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