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Title: Unity and multiculturalism in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands
Author: Rietveld, Elise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 1154
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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Political theorists agree that some form of unity is necessary for culturally diverse citizens to act collectively and take collectively binding decisions. But they seldom specify what they mean by such unity; agreement on political values, an emotional bond between citizens, shared fundamental ends? Moreover, these political theorists often aim to be of practical use and intend to shape the ideas and guide the actions of political elites. But they neglect to examine how these elites already conceive unity and it is not clear whether they can, as these are the ideas they seek to shape or alter. This thesis responds to these two gaps, making three contributions: it clarifies why studying existing ideas helps political theorists to be ‘practical’; it clarifies how unity is conceived by political theorists and by political elites; and it argues that one conception of unity is not only most defensible but also plausible within two contexts. I develop my argument as follows. In chapter 1 I show that political theorists remain unclear about what they mean by unity, while often aiming to be ‘practical’; and in chapter 2 I explain why such practicality entails studying the ideas of the elites theorists intend to influence and I outline how to study these. In chapter 3 I present and analyse four hitherto implicit conceptions of unity advanced by political theorists; and in chapters 4 and 5 I show how British and Dutch political elites, respectively, conceive unity in different ways. In chapter 6 I show the implications of how political elites think about unity for political theorists, so I can argue for one of their conceptions of unity in chapter 7. I thus show that paradoxically, in a time when multiculturalism is often considered divisive, a ‘multicultural’ conception of unity proves both most defensible and plausible.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; JC Political theory