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Title: Social freedom in a multicultural state : a normative theory of the politics of multicultural integration
Author: Nathan, Ganesh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 050X
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis develops a normative account of the politics of multiculturalism within the paradigm of an anti-essentialist notion of culture while avoiding the pitfall of 'plural monoculturalism'. In so doing, it contributes to the ongoing critiques of essentialist notions of culture and attempts to overcome the normative deficiencies of Kymlicka's theory of liberal multiculturalism, which tends to lead to the subordination of post- immigration ethnic minorities in accessing common institutions and to collapse a multicultural society into plural monocultures. To overcome these deficiencies, this thesis draws upon Benhabib's critiques of essentialist notions of culture and seeks support in Dilthey's works, even though these are not the obvious point of reference for multiculturalism. However, they do help present a model of culture without ossifying individuals within culture and reifying culture. Dilthey's idea of meaning in history, along with Dworkin's account of well-being, allows us to develop a normative account of well-being without succumbing to reductionism, and thereby to argue - similarly to Benhabib's as well as Arendt's emphasis - that we must be concerned with the circumstances of injustice that affect human conditions within the problematic social world, rather than with a universal human nature. Based on this premise, this thesis shows that social justice is a prime parameter of the 'right circumstances' because unjust circumstances may prevent individuals from pursuing their well-being, which is constituted by engaging in meaningful activities in accord with their genuine convictions. It argues that social freedom is essentially 'agency- freedom' - the notion of freedom as non-domination that is central to modem republicanism - which is tied to social justice, and that an assault on one's capability to participate as a citizen of equal status negatively affects one's social freedom. Drawing from Sen's and Nussbaum's capability approaches, this thesis shows that multicultural social justice should be understood as minorities' 'capability to function' as citizens of equal status, especially in deliberating on claims for recognition as cultural practices are normatively contestable. It argues that the minimal and common normative conditions - social recognition and non-domination - rooted in self-respect must be met without reifying culture and identity. Moreover, it argues that social virtues are important to ensure the egalitarian reciprocity of treating one another as citizens of equal status. Based on this normative premise, the politics of multicultural integration needs to satisfy a set of criteria. The set of criteria developed as a main part of the thesis has the capacity to normatively discriminate in a principled manner among competing political approaches to multiculturalism and diversity. This thesis concludes that modern civic republicanism, mainly derived from Honohan's works, better fulfils the conditions of the normative criteria than liberalism or communitarianism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available