SPAIS Seminar Series: Multiculturalism without Privileging Liberalism

25 November 2020, 12.30 PM - 25 November 2020, 1.40 PM

Professor Tariq Modood


Liberalism’s primary medium is that of values, principles and laws. One of the ways to de-absolutise liberalism in relation to multiculturalism and the respectful inclusion of minorities is to recognize the sociological and normative significance of other features of social life. I do so by focusing on the significance of identity and by highlighting the normative role of dialogue in a context of cultural and value conflicts. This offers a bottom-up basis for a political theory of multiculturalism, which is not simply about trends in academic liberalism but is about claims on national citizenship and national identity by those seeking inclusion in a new sense of the national. While a focus on identity, both in terms of recognition and in terms of fostering commonality and societal unity is not sufficient, it is a necessary dimension that political theorists who frame things in terms of liberalism miss, and thereby miss both what needs to be addressed and what is needed for liberal – amongst other – values to be secured. (Nor do socialists, human rights champions, cosmopolitans or localists).

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