Euro-Multiculturalism and Toleration

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The underlying concept of multiculturalism in many European discussions is different from that made prominent by the classic cases, e.g. in Canada, that have functioned as paradigm cases which the most prominent theories of multiculturalism have been tailored to fit and justify. “Euro-multiculturalism” denotes a) a different object of debates, i.e. the kind of diversity that multiculturalism is about, b) a different definition of what counts as multiculturalism policy responses to this diversity, and c) a different
normative background explaining what is at stake in European multiculturalism
controversies. Euro-multiculturalism is a) about mainly immigrant religious minorities rather than indigenous or national minorities defined in mainly cultural or linguistic terms; b) does not for the most part consist in special group-differentiated rights or forms of recognition going beyond established liberal rights, but rather is concerned with the interpretation and application of standard liberal rights and rules to cases involving this new diversity; and c) should be understood as premised on an underlying discussion about the meaning of liberalism rather than as a debate about normative commitments fundamentally different from liberalism. The paper considers two objections to the proposed understanding of Euro-multiculturalism, namely a) that it over-inclusive in the sense that it includes religion as a central category and thereby neglects important differences between religion and culture, and b) that it is under-inclusive in the sense that it collapses multiculturalism into standard liberal political theory and fails to explain what is distinctive about multiculturalism. Finally the paper shows that multiculturalism in this sense can involve issues of toleration.
TidsskriftJournal of East-West Thought
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)37-52
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2014


  • Multikulturalisme
  • Europa
  • Tolerance
  • religion og politik
  • liberalisme

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