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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Rethinking Multiculturalism

Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

ISBN 9780333984444
Publication Date June 2000
Formats Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

In this important book Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy from Plato onwards has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural diversity. He then discusses how the Western tradition can be revised and what new conceptual tools are needed. The core of the book addresses the important theoretical questions raised by contemporary multicultural society, especially the nature and limits of intercultural equality and fairness, national identity, citizenship, and cross-cultural political discourse.

BHIKHU PAREKH is Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. A political theorist of international renown he has held visiting chairs at many of the top US universities as well as in Vienna and Barcelona. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Baroda and a member of India's University Grants Commission in the early 1980s. On his return to the UK he became Deputy Chairman and Acting Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equalty. He is currently chair of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain whose report will be launched by leading government ministers in autumn 2000. He was elected British Asian of the Year in 1992 and received the BBC's award for special lifetime achievement in 1999. He was awarded The Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for lifetime contribution to political studies by the Political Studies Association in 2003.

Moral Monism
Forms of Pluralism
Contemporary Liberal Responses to Diversity
Conceptualising Human Beings
Understanding Culture
Reconstituting the Modern State
The Political Structure of Multicultural Society
Equality in a Multicultural Society
Logic of Intercultural Evaluation
Politics, Religion and Free Speech


Parekh is fair, thoughtful, fastidious and inventive in his theorizing of multiculturalism, but his viewpoint is rooted in an attempt to understand and convey a non-Western outlook. While his approach is always balanced, his first impulse is to explain and, where defensible, defend viewpoints that Western liberals have traditionally found suspect. It is a strength of this work that Parekh not only develops a brilliantly conceived theory of multiculturalism, but applies that theory meaningfully to thorny policy questions. This is a truly important and original book.' - Benjamin Barber, Rutgers University
'A brilliant analysis of one of the most difficult ideas in contemporary politics. Learned, but always clear and accessible, this is a work of profound compassion, commitment and cross-cultural understanding.' - Stuart Hall, The Open University
'Bhikhu Parekh has probably thought more deeply about the history, theory and practice of multiculturalism than anyone. This book is a landmark in the reconciliation of justice with diversity.' - Preston King, University of Lancaster
'The most comprehensive defence of a pluralist perspective on cultural diversity. The book displays all the wisdom and the fighting spirit of a man who has been at the forefront of the theoretical and political battles over multiculturalism.' - Rainer Bauböck, Austrian Academy of Sciences
'Written by a fine scholar and an arden activist this book is a lucid and luminous examination of the lives and times of liberalism in the context of multiculturalism, migration and cultural displacement.' - Homi Bhabha, University of Chicago
'A most profound, original and wide-ranging book that is accessible to non-specialists.' - Tariq Modood, University of Bristol'
[An] excellent book...admirable and enlightening and continuously insightful...' - Charles Taylor, Ethnicities'a thoughtful and serious investigation into the timely problem of practical living in a multicultural society.' - Meghnad Desai, Times Higher Education Supplement
'[B]rilliantly argued, rigorous, acute in its theoretical insights and persuasive in its practical suggestions...Rethinking Multiculturalism is sophisticated but also accessible; it really does force the most sceptical to rethink a wide range of issues...even Parekh's fiercest critics will not be able to question the quality of the argument. All talk of multiculturalism tends to be fighting talk. Parekh is the heavyweight challenger.' - Stephen Howe, The Independent'
[A] vibrant tour de force...on of those rare seminal works that generate continuous scholarly discussion...generous praise and critiques.' - Ephraim Nimni, Nations and Nationalism
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