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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Rethinking Multiculturalism

Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

Edition 2nd Edition
ISBN 9781403944528
Publication Date March 2006
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

This important and much acclaimed book rapidly became a classic on first publication. In it, Bhikhu Parekh shows that the Western tradition of political philosophy has very limited theoretical resources to cope with cultural diversity. He then discusses how it 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. The new second edition includes a substantial additional chapter addressing key issues.

BHIKHU PAREKH is Professor in the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, UK. He was Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and before that for many years was Professor of Political Theory, University of Hull. 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 Equality. He was chair of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic. 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 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
A Response to My Critics


Reviews of 1st edition:'[An] excellent book...admirable and enlightening and continuously insightful...' - Charles Taylor, Ethnicities
'The present book is 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
'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 Parkh 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] vibrant tour de force...one of those rare seminal works that generate continuous scholarly discussion...generous praise and critiques.' - Ephraim Nimmi, Nations and Nationalism
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