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Unit information: Theory and Politics of Multiculturalism in 2015/16

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Unit name Theory and Politics of Multiculturalism
Unit code SPAI30003
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Modood
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will explore why multicultural policy has become important, what kinds of minorities or social formations need to be accommodated and what kinds of policy contexts are important for multiculturalism in different countries. The course will examine sociological evidence for cultural diversity, its linkages with inter-generational socio-economic disadvantage and the normative and pragmatic arguments for and against multiculturalism. Developments in a number of different countries will be examined and the policy areas studied will include education and employment and will be placed in context of current debates about national identity, globalisation and the 'clash of civilisations'. The course will conclude with a discussion of the current discourse of 'multiculturalism is dead'.

The aims of the unit are:

  • To examine the theoretical and political basis for emergent multicultural policies and redefinitions of existing national identities in multicultural terms
  • To examine the character of the different concepts and models of multiculturalism that are prevalent.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the arguments for and against political multiculturalism and why political multiculturalism is becoming significant in a number of countries
  • critically engage with and evaluate what multiculturalism means in specific policy terms in a number of policy areas in different countries
  • make detailed and appropriate use of these insights in developing an informed perspective on multiculturalism that contributes meaningfully to contemporary debates.

Teaching Information

1 hour lecture and 2 hours of seminars.

Assessment Information

Essay 100%

Reading and References

  • Kivisto, Peter (2002) Multiculturalism in a Global Society, Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Castles, S. and Miller, M. (2003) The Age of Migration. International Population Movements in the Modern World, London: Macmillan, Third Edition.
  • S May, T Modood and J. Squires (2004) (eds) Ethnicity, Nationalism and Minority Rights, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Parekh, B (2000) Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, Palgrave.
  • Modood, Tariq (2007) Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea, Themes for The 21st Century, Polity, Cambridge
  • Modood, Tariq (2005) Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain, Edinburgh University Press