Copyright Sociological Research Online, 2002


Nick Stevenson (2002) 'Cosmopolitanism, Multiculturalism and Citizenship'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 7, no. 1, <>

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Received: 15/11/2001      Accepted: 8/5/2002      Published: 31/5/2002


This paper argues that the study of citizenship needs to engage with both cosmopolitan and multicultural questions. Despite their difference social and political theory needs to find new ways to bring these concerns together. In particular it is argued that such a venture is only possible if cosmopolitanism opens questions of cultural identity, and multiculturalism decouples itself from specifically national concerns. These moves are likely to bring these approaches into a fruitful dialogue taking their arguments beyond mainstream liberalism, but maintaining a dialectic between universalism and difference. The paper ends by considering the challenge played by fundamentalism.

Citizenship; Cosmopolitanism; Cultural Identity; Difference; Multiculturalism; National Identity


During the past decade, questions of citizenship have come increasingly to the fore. This has been widely recognised as being connected to the growing crisis of the welfare state in Western democratic nations, the demise of 'actually existed socialism', the critical questioning of liberalism and social democracy and the development of informational capitalism. All of these social developments and others have helped put citizenship studies on the map. The question of membership and belonging in terms of our common rights and duties has arguably been heightened in an age where the liquidity of capital and the demise of communism have brought into question older Left/Right binarisms. These debates open out key questions in respect of our political cultures as the main ideologies that dominated the twentieth century (especially liberalism and socialism) come under increasing critical scrutiny from both inside and outside the academy. In this context, citizenship studies have revived a notion of political community set against the economic reductionism of the Left and the market individualism of the Right (Ignatieff 1991). From the eighties citizenship has provided the focus for a series of debates connecting the role of new social movements (Stevenson 2001), social welfare (Roche 1992), feminism (Lister 1997) and broader questions of social responsibility and obligation (Dahrendorf 1994). Current theorizing on citizenship therefore seeks to remoralise political debates in a way that is critical of rights based liberalism, New Right market atomism and Left cynicism (Kymlicka and Norman 1994).

More recently questions of citizenship have also sought to include both cosmopolitan and multicultural questions. My argumentative strategy is that such questions are both central to any contemporary consideration of citizenship, and vital for future debates in social and political theory. Further, the argument of this paper is that cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism go together. In the context of rapidly changing global societies we are in the midst of a significant political realignment where both of these concepts are likely to play a leading part in the construction and reconstruction of political imaginations. Here the argument comes in three main stages. Firstly, I outline the reasons why cosmopolitanism is key to contemporary debates within citizenship before moving on to argue that it needs to take questions of cultural identity more seriously than it has done thus far. Next I seek to look at some of the weaknesses of liberal political theory, and the reasons why multicultural questions are posing these theorists such problems. The penultimate section seeks to investigate the competing claims made on behalf of muliticulturalism by Iris Marion Young, Will Kymlicka and Bhikhu Parekh all of whom are critical of mainstream liberalism. Finally, I point to some of the ways in which multicultural social and political theory could learn from an engagement with cosmopolitan concens before ending with a consideration of the threat that stems from fundamentalism. Throughout my concern is to bring the study of citizenship more closely into a set of issues which are likely to gain in prominence over the course of the new century.

Cosmopolitan Citizenship and Cultural Identity

Since the fall of the Berlin wall the cosmopolitan view has sought to dispense with specifically national responses. This has largely been due to the argument that processes of globalisation have significantly undermined national forms of citizenship. According to Richard Falk (2000) globalisation has minimised political differences within states by converting elections into trivial rituals, while simultaneously weakening the internal bonds of community and consideration. Issues such as growing ecological awareness, the impact of global poverty, feminism, the participation of racial and ethnic minorities can not readily be integrated into a concern for the declining fortunes of territorial states. Following writers like Beck (1998), Held (1995) and Linklater (1998) there is the view that without a politically robust cosmopolitan culture, global civil society and cosmopolitan institutions, we will remain a world at the mercy of the interests of nation-states and economic markets. Democracy has to become a trans-national form of governance by breaking with the cultural hegemony of the state. A cosmopolitan political community then would be based upon overlapping or multiple citizenships connecting the populace into local, national, regional and global forms of governance. The cosmopolitan polity, guided by the principle of autonomy, would seek to achieve new levels of interconnectedness to correspond with an increasingly global world. These dimensions remain vital, surpassing older divisions in the democratic tradition between direct and representative democracy by seeking to maximize the principle of autonomy across a range of different levels. Within this framework therefore the argument for a cosmopolitan democracy is guided by the view that problems such as HIV, ecological questions and poverty are increasingly globally shared problems.

The task of securing democracy in an increasingly interconnected age must allow for the development of a cosmopolitan democratic law. In this respect, Held (1995) has identified the United Nations as an institution that could play a key role in the transformation of governance from a world system built upon the competing ambitions of nation-states to one with a deeper orientation to cosmopolitan forms of democracy. The UN Charter provides a forum where states are in certain respects equal offering the beginnings of a break with a world order whereby specifically national interests are paramount. However, as Held is well aware, the United Nations is in need of considerable reform before it is able to generate its own political resources, and act as an autonomous decision making center. Similarly Habermas (1997) and Honneth (1997) locate ideas of cosmopolitan democracy in Kant's desire to replace the law of nations with a genuinely morally binding international law. Kant's vision of a peaceful cosmopolitan order that is based upon the obligation by states to settle their differences through the court of law has gained a new legitimacy in a post cold war world. For Habermas (1997) while this vision retains a contemporary purchase it has to be brought up to date by acknowledging a number of social transformations including the globalisation of the public sphere and the declining power of states, while also recognising that it is individuals and citizens and not collectivities who need to become sovereign.

Cosmopolitanism then requires the implementation of legal mechanisms that act in the interests of global citizens rather than states. This would build upon the UN charter model of governance creating a society of world citizens who were able to challenge their own governments. Both Held and Habermas recognise that the weak link in these arguments is that the UN currently both recognises nation states as sovereign as well as being open to challenge. This contradiction is further magnified if we recognise that globalisation processes have both increased the social and economic divisions across the planet, while introducing the idea of a global community based upon shared risks. Similarly, Honneth (1997) argues that the fall of the Berlin wall, the demise of Communism and an increased emphasis upon global interconnection has in the former 'Eastern Europe' led to a rapid increase in the power of civil society. This has simultaneously enhanced the prospects for democratic elections and the rule of law, while also allowing for the explosion of nationalist and ethnic violence. In short, for Held, Honneth and Habermas the prospect of a global cosmopolitan democracy takes on the role of a 'necessary utopia' leading us out of the ambiguities of the present into a new world whereby international relations become progressively moralised through the rights of individuals rather than states. Yet, as they demonstrate, such prospects have to be dialectically situated in the emerging frameworks offered by the rebirth of political passions and the global logics of capitalism. Such views offer the prospect of a new world order based upon a regenerated democracy linking local, nation, regional and global decision making structures. What Anthony Giddens (1999) has called the democratisation of democracy is required to make the practice of citizenship suitable for a reflexive, global and information age. This might involve a range of mechanisms introducing greater transparency within public affairs by introducing peoples juries, enhancing local democracy and building a stronger civic culture.

However, while being supportive of the necessity of rethinking democracy and citizenship in cosmopolitan directions, here I want to suggest such ventures need to become more concerned with questions of cultural identity. This is not the usual call for the turn into more communitarian sensibilities away from the unencumbered self of liberal thought. As we shall see, there are good reasons for the cosmopolitan project to steer clear of some of the moral prescriptions that have become associated with communitarian patterns of thinking, while recognising that unless people are able to think and feel like cosmopolitans in the contexts of their everyday lives the project is unlikely to get very far. Cosmopolitanism as a cultural ideal needs to be linked into notions of urbanity, the ability to live with difference and a healthy respect for 'otherness'. That is cosmopolitanism needs to be discursively and emotionally imagined. How, if you like, do people begin the process of thinking and feeling like cosmopolitans? How might cosmopolitan sensibilities be fostered in communities that are based upon the increased global mobility of some and the more place- specific identities of others? (Bauman 1999, Castells 1996).

Ulrich Beck (1999) has argued that the main dividing line in the struggles that mark the future will be between those that seek to remake civil society and community out of freedom and those that will seek to introduce new forms of discipline and compulsion. For Beck it is the ethic of individualisation when linked with globalisation that is most likely to lead politics in a cosmopolitan direction. Similarly, Touraine (2000) argues that the modern subject must learn to successfully negotiate between the twin traps evident within global networks of production and the return to community. That is market hedonism and the drive towards cultural homogeneity denies the ideals of inter-cultural communication. Whereas the global market has flooded our lives with standardised goods our increasingly fragmented world has lead to the proliferation of sects who reject universal norms. We are then 'caught between the calculations of the financiers and the fatwas of the ayatollahs' (Touraine 2000:43). Similarly with Beck, Touraine argues we are living in the age of the Subject. Rather than submitting to the logics of the market or community the Subject seeks to defend the self against instrumentalism and communalism. The break up of national-capitalism has lead to the weakening of institutions whose aim it is to impose collective norms and identities. This means that whereas our personal lives are less regulated by norms and hierarchies than before this has led to both increasing social inequalities and enhanced possibilities for freedom and creativity. Within this both Beck and Touraine reject the idea that they are merely describing new forms of individualism available to the middle-classes. Rather that the Subject's capacity to be creatively involved in dialogue can only be enhanced by recognising the threats to 'freedom' posed by communalism and consumerism. The twin dangers of mass culture and cultural nationalism (or indeed communitarianism) are held in check through the rebirth of a cosmopolitan politics through individuation.

Hence a cosmopolitan agenda is emerging out of the cultural contradictions of the present, rather than the need for a 'rational' response to new social conditions. For instance, Beck (2000) argues that from the legal position of non- interference in the 'internal affairs' of states NATO's response to Kosovo is a clear breach of international law. However the attempts to stop the genocide exposes the tension between human rights and national sovereignty. The second age of modernity is beginning to establish the principle of human rights occasionally taking priority over international law. Whereas in the first stage of modernity human rights were subordinate to the nation-state system this is no longer always the case. Under cosmopolitan law the bearers of human rights are individuals and not states or nations. According to Beck (2000: 84) this shift posits the possibility of 'a legally binding world society of individuals'. However, Beck takes these questions beyond those identified by Habermas, Held and others by asking what implications do cosmopolitan institutions and individualisation have for questions of cultural identity? That is whereas the first age of modernity defined identity as given and fixed (usually by national or ethnic groups) in the second age identity becomes 'a creative achievement' (Beck 2000:92). Similarly Stuart Hall (1996:4) has described cultural identity as:'about questions of using the resources of history, language and culture in the process of becoming rather than being: not 'who we are' or 'where we come from', so much as what we might become, how we have been represented and how that bears on how we might represent ourselves'. Questions of difference and diaspora have more recently questioned the settlement drawn by national thinking between location and identity. That is rather than rooting identity in place such questions are rendered 'cultural' rather than 'natural' through the development and recognition of post-national forms of identification. As Pieterse and Parekh (1995) comment, 'at this stage, bicultural and bilingual social forces - typically migrants, diasporas, exiles, returnees - come to the foreground'. Notions of multiple identity question both the assertions of cultural nationalism and the often homogeneous culture of the market place. Yet all political communities must address the patterns of inclusion and exclusion that issues of identity ultimately pose. All groupings are concerned with the boundaries of their constitution. As Paul Gilroy (2000) has argued historically the idea of the nation has sought to resolve these dilemmas by repressing difference and imposing a homogenous identity. National and ethnic identities in this framework are represented as being 'pure' without the unsettling trace of hybridity.

The question that remains then is how we learn to live together, while accepting, negotiating and constructing our differences? The coming together of globalisation and individualisation at the same time that nations are losing their power to define makes this a crucial question. This is not an issue that liberalism with its emphasis on free choosing individuals, or communitarian's emphasis upon community before individuality can adequately resolve. Here I want to argue that cosmopolitan concerns have much to gain by becoming connected to questions of multi-culturalism. If cosmopolitan questions need to be extended to more fully incorporate questions of cultural identity they will only do so by seeking to pluralise and deconstruct discourses of nationhood. Here it is not enough to point to the importance of new levels of governance, but we need to be able to more fully connect to questions of identity formation within and between national societies.

National Citizenship, Liberalism and Multiculturalism

Most of the debate in respect of contemporary nationalism makes a clear distinction between ethnic and civic nationalism. Ethnic nationalism holds that citizenship is based upon a common cultural identity. This particular version of nationalism has been associated with the more destructive features of national cultures. That is it is commonly held that ethnic nationalism's attempt to impose a 'pure' and homogenous construction on the plurality of the 'people' is connected in late modernity to the cultural barbarism of ethnic cleansing. On the other hand, national cultures and identities are irrevocably Janus-faced as ideas of nationhood have informed struggles to extend commonly held rights and obligations, and have provided the back drop for anti-colonial struggles. This attitude, offering a less pessimistic view of national cultures, brings us to civic nationalism. Here membership and basic citizenship entitlements are tied to a 'legal-political' definition of community. The rights and obligations of the national community are in this respect universal not culturally specific. For instance, critical-liberals, such as Habermas (1994), have defended a conception of nationalism that he calls 'constitutional patriotism'. Habermas argues that while nationalism and democracy have 'grown up' together they are analytically separable. Feelings of loyalty and obligation should be constructed around universally agreed procedures rather than specific ethnic groups. Habermas, in this view, comes close to the liberal view that the state or national community should remain agnostic concerning members particular views of the good life, within of course certain boundaries. Similarly Rawls (1996) argues that political liberalism is the search for a society that can gain support of an overlapping consensus of principles that are endorsable whatever the individuals respective orientation. Rawls argues that it is basically illiberal to expect a society to be based upon a comprehensive moral or philosophical standpoint. Modern societies are irrevocably pluralist and contain people with different sexualities, religious convictions, class loyalties, ethnicities, political persuasions and so on. For a society to cohere, Rawls argues it must gain the support of what he calls 'reasonable and rational agents'. Through the use of virtues of tolerance and respect the aim of political liberalism is the achievement of an overlapping consensus among those who accept the fact of reasonable pluralism. In this respect, the priority of the right over the good ensures there are collectively held principles of justice that become embedded within the constitution. In questions of dispute, citizens would be obligated to use public forms of reason seeking to persuade others that their demands or arguments are compatible with the constitution.

While Habermas (1995) has criticised these proposals on a number of grounds both he and Rawls seek to provide a notion of the good society that is based upon well reasoned universal principles which appropriately involve a diversity of communities within contemporary multicultural society. Both Rawls and Habermas are concerned that the national and international community become structuctured through shared principles of justice, rather than substantive doctrines. The main point of difference seems to be whereas Rawls locates the public sphere within a legal framework provided by the constitution, Habermas is more concerned with the reflexive capacity of civil society. As Benhabib (1996) notes whereas Rawls's idea of public reason is anchored in the judicial role of the court, Habermas's notion of deliberative democracy concerns the moral grammar of civil discourse. In this it is a diverse, argumentative and contested public sphere rather than the Supreme Court that becomes the embodiment of democratic citizenship. However within this citizens would be expected to articulate their proposals and policies in a 'discursive language that appeals to commonly shared and accepted public reasons' (Benhabib 1996: 83).

Yet there remains at least two problems with these formulations. The first is that both Habermas and Rawls are guilty of ignoring the cultural content of national forms of identification. In Michael Billig's (1992) formulation nationalism is a common sense discourse which makes second nature distinctions between 'us' and 'them'. (Billig 1992) Nationalism then is both blind to the ways collective identities are commonly maintained, and presents the division of the world into nation-states as part of the 'natural' environment. That is both Rawls and Habermas displace the idea that the meanings of the 'nation' may become a source of contestation (Verdery 1993). This is not a problem that can be resolved by appealing to the fairness or rightness of the constitutional settlement as it actually requires reconstructing the ideas, discourses and sentiments that construct our sense of nationhood. That is a state is not only a political community, but also acts as an imagined community where civic nationalism exists within particular traditions. Inclusive forms of citizenship are as much a matter of symbolism as formal rights. Following Stuart Hall (1999) this argument asks us to attend to the social codes and conventions that commonly reproduce institutions and identities.

This leads to our second point. Charles Taylor (1992), in an important essay, seeks to link what he calls the 'struggle for recognition' with the politics of multiculturalism. Taylor starts from the view that both personal and collective identities are shaped by the intersubjective processes of recognition and misrecognition. That is images of the self are mirrored back by intimate relations and social institutions informing our individual and collective identities. The struggle for recognition is a dialogic process that is negotiated with intimate and distant others. These processes, for Taylor, encompass basic human needs that depend upon the recognition of the uniqueness of our identities and notions of equal respect. The problem comes however in reconciling the universal demand for equal dignity, while our differences are also respected. The politics of equal respect, which is most often associated with liberalism, requires that we treat others in a difference-neutral way. The difficulty with such a view being that blind universalism is of itself representative of a particular culture, and that if we are not receptive to difference, then this actually suppresses the uniqueness of our identity formations. To return to the culture of liberalism, it has wanted to secure equal respect, while remaining indifferent to the specific identity formations chosen by its citizens. For example, how could difference blind liberalism help protect a 'minority' language, or indeed grant the necessary communal resources to a previously silenced and marginalised social group?

Such cultures, it is claimed, in a framework of individual choice, are unlikely to flourish unless they are granted collective or group rights. Brain Barry's (2000) recent claim that 'difference blind' liberalism is the fairest way of accommodating diversity is no longer acceptable (Barry 2000). The view of citizenship that is being advanced here is that it should become as concerned with questions of recognition and difference as it is with the politics of justice and income distribution. Such notions arguably articulate a more cultural version of citizenship where what becomes important are ' needs to be visible, to be heard, and to belong' (Resaldo 1999:260). That is to say that ethnic and other minorities articulate a double demand for greater equality and social justice and the recognition and respect of difference and cultural diversity. According to Nancy Fraser (1997) this should lead us to recognise that our integrity as human-beings does not flow from our access to material resources, but is dependent upon processes of cultural domination (being interpreted as being inferior), non-recognition (being excluded from the dominant imagery of one's culture) and disrespect (being continually portrayed in a negative or stereotypical way). It is then the feelings of having been unjustly treated and disrespected rather than 'interests' that propel attempts to link the ethical self realisation of the community and the individual. The other side of such demands are that cultural identities are recognised in such ways that allow 'the goal of undistorted and unrestricted recognition' (Honneth 1995:171). Yet we have seen that liberalisms agnosticism on questions of cultural identity both inadequately occupies the ground of national identity and displaces a concern with difference. As we shall see, most versions of multiculturalism are seeking to reformulate specifically national identities while seeking to build more 'inclusive' communities. We might formulate this as the aim to produce a political community without social disrespect. In the following section, I want to look at three distinctive approaches to multicultural citizenship before emphasising what I take to be their major weakness in respect of cosmopolitan concerns.

Multicultural Citizenship: Iris Marion Young, Will Kymlicka and Bhikhu Parekh

Here I want to look at three different approaches to group or collective rights as advanced by Iris Marion Young, Will Kymlicka, and Bhikhu Parekh. The argument that mainstream liberalism is inhospitabile to 'difference' and fails to address questions of national identity is well made, but does not of itself make the case for the granting of special rights to 'minority' groups. Indeed while we continue to use terms like 'majority' and 'minority' they are increasingly open to question. There has been a move beyond discourses which assume binary oppositions between straight and gay, men and women, and white and black. A politics of difference aims to subvert the potentially normalising assumptions behind these oppositions. Such a politics attempts to move beyond a sociology of minorities to a study of identity as an ongoing social construction. These theoretical and social tendencies seek to deconstruct what Stuart Hall (1992) has called the 'essential black subject' and Steven Seidman (1997) 'the straight and gay mainstream'. In other words, multi-culturalism needs to move byound simplistic assumptions in respect of the ways that individual and group identity become constructed. Further, we need to carefully consider which kinds of multi-culturalism are actually compatible with the view of cosmopolitan politics I defended earlier. Such a conception, we might be reminded was built upon the recognition of new levels of governance, and the dialogic understanding of questions of cultural identity.

Iris Marion Young (1989) argues that despite the universal orientations of citizenship it remains in practice exclusionary. The idea that citizenship is dependent upon a 'general will' necessarily excludes those groups who are not judged as capable of adopting the general point of view, and adherence to 'equal treatment' necessarily privileges certain cultures and lifestyles over others. The dominance of middle class white males within the public sphere ensures the tone, ethos and substantive content of most political debate. To counteract these tendencies, Young proposes the introduction of a genuinely inclusive public realm that jettisons the practice of citizens dispassionately uncovering a commonly held good society. In this view the public realm should abandon the search for commonality amongst different groups as historically such a practice has masked group and personal difference. The proper recognition that different groups have distinctive cultures, histories and experiences will inevitably shatter homogeneous expressions of similarity. In this the desire for unity that is expressed in common forms of citizenship exclude certain perspectives from the public. Young is particularly keen to include the voices of oppressed groups whose perspectives have been excluded by presumptions of a universal humanity. A genuinely democratic and participatory community should seek to ensure groups including working class people, lesbians, gays and ethnic minorities have their distinctive voices and perspectives heard. This given her own account would be necessarily hard to achieve given that more powerful social groups tend to behave as though they have a right to speak and others do not. The proper representation of oppressed and excluded groups would necessarily involve institutional mechanisms that ensured groups were able to gain a sense of their collective experience, voice numerous policy proposals and have them heard, and finally, be given veto powers regarding the specific policies that effect them. These institutional procedures would, according to Young, ensure that the privileged hear those voices that are usually silenced. Such proposals would constitute the public as a heterogeneous realm enabling citizens to participate while having their differences affirmed by society. A genuinely communicative society would not necessarily value the dispassionate and reasoned speech of white liberals and conservatives over others. Instead a communicative society would seek to institutionalise the voice of the other. Democratic conversation would not so much be orientated around what we have in common, but seek to bring into our common awareness how we differ. It is only when we are able to collectively develop the skills of listening and speaking across difference that we might begin the task of discovering the general interest. It is then the 'polite acknowledgement of the Otherness of others' that should guide our engagements, rather than the search for unity (Young 1996:130).

These views have been widely criticised for inadequately defining what constitutes a group, for essentialising differences, and converting politics into a practice which merely affirms group difference (Faulks 2000,Phillips 1991). That is while liberalism may be inhospitable to difference societies still need to be able to articulate principles that give them some semblance of unity. As Alain Tourraine (2000) has argued multi-culturalism should not be reduced to an unrestricted pluralism. A genuinely multi-cultural society needs to be able to establish unity and communication between separated cultural constellations. Without such a principle of unity it is difficult to see why we should be concerned to listen to the voice of the other. Whereas Young seems to assume that certain institutional arrangements can ensure the powerful are 'confronted' with perspectives and opinions of which they are hostile towards nothing could be further from the truth. As Taylor (1992) argues the provision of minority rights could not guarantee that equal forms of respect are granted towards minority cultures. To be seen, does not mean that you are heard. Missing from Young's reflections are some of the complexities that are involved in the interpretation of the voices and perspectives of others. Her proposal to ensure that oppressed groups gain a footing in a wider conversation could easily have the reverse effect. In a community that lacked universal normative reasons as to why the voice of the 'other' should be engaged with powerful groups are unlikely to be moved to new levels of attentiveness. While 'minority' rights may secure a 'public presence' for previously marginalised groups they could not ensure that they are respected. Alternatively, guided by some of Young's criticisms of liberalism, I would argue that any community that wishes to call itself 'inclusive' is more likely to achieve this aim if they attend to the voice of the 'other'. It is this rather than the provision of special rights or the use of public reason which is likely to foster democratic conversations of a genuinely cosmopolitan nature. The possibilities for an engagement with the 'other' can of course be enhanced by certain procedures, but is only likely to be 'effective' given the possibility of dialogic forms of encounter.

Will Kymlicka (1995) has also proposed that liberal societies need to become more welcoming than they are currently in respect of group rights. In particular Kymlicka is concerned about the rights of national minorities who since the nineteen seventies have sought to have their ethnic particularity accepted by public institutions. These groups are distinctive from the cultural diversity that arises out of individual or familial immigration where peoples more typically seek to integrate themselves into the wider society. There are in fact three main ways in which we might think about group-differentiated rights. Firstly, national societies could grant minority communities rights to self-government which would involve devolved assemblies and parliaments. Second, the recognition of polyethnic rights would involve the public recognition and tolerance of the cultural practices of minorities. This could involve the recognition of distinctive patterns of dress or the funding of 'minority' media and cultural festivals. Finally, there are also claims for special forms of representation that could be made given that the polity tends to be dominated by white, middle-class and able bodied men. Kymlicka argues that he is mostly supportive of the capacity of 'minority' cultures to make all three of these different claims. In this a genuinely multicultural community would seek to promote the recognition of national and ethnic difference. Kymlicka then connects the term 'culture' to an intergenerational community that shares a distinctive language, connection to a certain homeland and history.

In making these claims Kymlicka recognises that many liberals are concerned that the granting of group rights is actually hostile to the recognition of the rights of the individual. In particular there is considerable fear in liberal circles that group rights could be used by minority communities in order to police dissent and cultural contestation. However Kymlicka argues that group rights should be viewed as a form of external protection against majorities rather than the internal restriction of individual rights. For example, ethnic groups could demand the right to remove children from schools in order to reduce the impact of 'majority' cultures and reinforce 'traditional' cultural practices such as arranged marriages. By way of defence Kymlicka argues that the struggle for group rights is usually orientated towards the generation of group respect from mainstream society and that the protection of the rights of individuals would need to be open to the critical scrutiny of the courts. In short, a group-differentiated citizenship is desirable as society founded upon the recognition of diversity is more likely to promote the conditions for social unity than a community, which seeks to deny or hide group difference.

Jeremy Waldron (1999) argues from a cosmopolitan point of view that Kymlicka's idea of culture is deeply questionable. Kymlicka's notion of culture implies that within modernity we are able to live as if we were the exclusive products of a single national or ethnic community. That is Kymlicka divides up the world as though separate communities are attached to distinctive cultures. In other words, Kymlicka is working with a model of culture whereby separate national and ethnic communities impose homogenous cultures upon its members. The integrity of a culture on this model is maintained by its ability to silence external influences and maintain order within its ranks. This, as Waldron notes, leaves very little space for the intermixing of cultures, hybridity and inter-cultural communication. The cosmopolitan view of culture would emphasise that no community is self sustaining and that individuals do not live their lives in cultural enclaves. We may indeed want to grant 'special' rights to certain sections of the community, but should we do so we would need to dispense with the idea that cultures act as pre- constituted billard balls that strike up against each other. As Homi Bhabha (1992) argues questions of cultural difference are not the same as those of cultural diversity. Whereas diversity requires a pre given cultural realm questions of difference view culture as constituted through struggle and claims to homogeneity and superiority. Questions of cultural difference seek to deconstruct claims to cultural purity and demonstrate that the meanings and symbols of cultural identity require interpretation and enunciation. As Parekh (2000) comments, it is Kymlicka's view of culture that leads him to dismiss the claims to special rights by immigrants. That is as immigrants have left their 'natural' cultural home then they should have no rights to culture and are required to integrate into the host culture. Hence whereas national 'minorities' have specific cultures that require recognition the culture of immigrants should be denied public expression. Yet in a world of unprecedented cultural mobility in terms of peoples and symbols it makes little sense to argue that cultures are confined to national and ethnic boundaries. In this respect, Kymlicka's proposals could well lead into a form of cultural apartheid, rather than the inter-cultural recogition of difference and the necessity of dialogue.

With these considerations in mind, Parekh's (2000) own version of multiculturalism proceeds from the view that unity creating public spaces are based upon inclusive forms of dialogue. In this we need not make the distinctions between nationals, ethnics and immigrants that Kymlicka finds persuasive. Parekh argues that mulit-cultural societies need to establish a constitional settlement, implement justice in a way that respects difference, and grant group or collective rights. Parekh agrees with Kymlicka that the argument that collective rights can be used to oppress individuals neglects to consider the idea that individual rights can also destroy communities. Collective rights then can be granted on a number of grounds including the respecting of deeply held religious beliefs, to compensate for previous oppression and disrespect, and the maintenance of 'minority' collective identities. However, what makes Parekh's contribution distinctive, is his argument that multicultural societies should aim to create a common culture out of difference. Such a culture he reasons could grow out of cross cultural conversations and inter-cultural dialogue. The key resource in seeking to develop such sensibilities amongst its citizens is the progressive development of a genuinely multicultural education. In terms of European liberal societies this would involve the enhanced questioning of Eurocentrism and monoculturalism more generally, and the development of an educated' curiosity in respect of other cultures. In this simply to learn about the 'great and glorious' past of a particular ethnic or national society not only breeds racism, but also stultifies the creative imagination. The central aim then of a multicultural education would be the fostering of sensibilities that were open to the sheer diversity of cultures that make up the general history and experience of a community.

In the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue Parekh distances himself from many of the assumptions of mainstream liberalism. Rather than starting from the view that we already know what counts as civilised behaviour, Parekh argues for a transformative dialogue that respects difference. In these dialogues we need to be guided by what Parekh (2000:267) calls 'operative public values'. While these values are open to question they are both general and regulative and embodied within the rights and obligations of citizenship which are in turn shaped by established legal norms and practice. In this Parekh (2000:280) argues that 'our decision to allow a cultural practice cannot and should not be based on abstract moral principles or the right to autonomy alone but also on its cultural and historical context'. Such dialogues should have both a transformative effect upon both 'minorities' and 'majorities' alike as they critical interrogate a number of cultural practices.

Parekh best illustrates the possibilities that such dialogues can have through his investigation of the Salman Rushdie dispute. For Parekh the dispute within Britain was marked by entrenched modes of thinking which failed to make use of the opportunity to gain a more informed understanding of one another. The liberal defenders of the Satanic Verses mostly failed to appreciate the sense of harm felt by the Muslim protesters, while they in turn failed to grasp the significance of ideas around the freedom of speech for liberals. What the dispute actually highlights is the need to formulate new public forums and institutions designed to deal with questions of inter-cultural conflict and confusion. These dialogues would need to recognise the different cultural associations, fears, cultural projections of both ourselves and others. Parekh argues that such deliberations are not simply the cold exchange of reasons, but would need to be informed by the spirit of compromise, curiosity and mutual respect. Such dialogues are sustained by the idea that all cultures are limited and benefit from dialogue. A multicultural society then has the principles of dialogue at its center and would privilege no particular cultural perspective including liberalism. It is then the principle of inter-cultural communication and the recovery of the 'other' that governs a multi-cultural society. This ethos is threatened by claims to cultural homogeneity and ethnic purity. The point here again is to foster a society that avoids the collapse into either separatism or the tyranny of the majority, while being fully inclusive of the cultural capabilities and capacities of its members.

As we have seen, multicultural societies are likely to benefit from the granting of some group rights and different ways of anchoring inter-cultural forms of dialogue. While situations inevitably involve the trade off between universal principles and more contextual forms of understanding they will inevitably proceed on a case by case basis. Such dialogic contexts would also, as many of the critics of multiculturalism have agrued, need to address the question of unequal power relations which leads to some cultures being stereotyped and considered as 'other' (Yuval-Davis 1997). That is such forums would need to make sure that 'minorities' within 'minority' communities find a voice and that the diversity of the host cultures are properly represented.

A report called The Future of Multi-Cultural Britain (also known as the Parekh report) was published in 2000 the same year as Parekh's Rethinking Multiculturalism. Despite being authored by the Runnymead Trust it takes up many of the themes available within Parekh's more academic work. The report recognises 'the rights of communities to live according to their own conception of the good life, subject to certain moral constraints' (Runnymeade Trust 2000:37). In this respect, it is critical of mainstream liberalism for promoting monoculturalism in the public and multiculturalism in the private. The report highlights specific ways to both enhance intercultural dialogue and the auditing of dominant institutions to ensure their inclusivity. However, as is well known, the publicising of these proposals in the British press was overshadowed by the reports claim (mentioned only briefly) that Britishness was 'racially coded' (Runnymeade Trust 2000:38). This incident reveals the extream difficulty in seeking to develop a politics of difference rather than one limited to liberal ideals of tolerance. As Henry Giroux (1994) has argued questions of multiculturalism inevitably seeks to reflexively question the ways in which the national culture seeks to privilege certain identities over others. Multiculturalism represents the mutual challenge of seeking to deconstruct the ideas that 'black' and 'white' encode essential identities, and the need to help dominant groups 'unlearn their own privilege' (Giroux 1994: 327). Again multiculturalism points towards the possibility of deconstructing identities of power (primarily by making 'whiteness' visible) and by recovering 'other' voices which are often stereotyped and marginalised. These dimensions, as the reaction of the British press demonstrates, however, will always have to move within less than perfect social and cultural conditions. These are indeed dangers and difficulties that any version of multiculturalism would inevitably have to face. A dialogic multicultural politics would have to negotiate the dangers of fundamentalist reaction, disengagement by dominant groups, and a politics of 'otherness'which sought security in the permanent margin (Gates 1994).

The other question that has been brought to bear on Parekh's suggestions is his 'anti-universalism'. Brian Barry (2001:69) has argued that Parekh's equivication on these themes fails to recognise the binding force of 'the principle of non- discrimination'. It is this universal liberal principle that should ethically guide a multi-cultural society, rather than inter-cultural dialogue. Parekh's (2000) concern with universalism is two fold. Firstly he argues that Rawlsian liberalism tends to exclude and marginalise practices and perspectives that seem to be 'unreasonable'. That is liberalism (as we've already seen) is actually inhospitable to cultural diversity in that it presupposes an individualistic ethos. Secondly, he argues that universal norms are too abstract to do anything more than offer general norms for guidance. What is actually required is the empowerment of 'weaker' groups in dialogue and the development of a more multivocal conversations. The concern here is the imposition of abstract norms can be both divisive, and indeed may become disputed in practice. While Parekh ocassionaly bends the stick too far his proposals are actually a call to develop what Lister (1997) has called a 'differential universalism'. As Parekh (1995) has argued elsewhere the point where liberalism becomes illiberal is that it finds it difficult to respect those who do not value individualism, secularism, ambition and the pursuit of wealth. The other side of liberalism then is that it may come to code those who fail to be 'reasonable' through normalising discourses. Parekh's concern is less with a minimal universalism but the cultural insensitivity of liberalism. Yet he is on weaker ground where he fails to recognise that any ongoing conversation actually presupposes certain universals. The shared task of a transformative dialogue being built upon universal rules such as equal respect (Benhahib 1999a).

Cosmopolitanism and Multiculturalism

The construction of common cultures of difference at the national level remains one of the key objectives of multiculturalism. In cultures where citizenship is predominately formulated through national institutions such as the media, education and government these perspectives remain important. Yet the debate thus far presupposes that multicultural concerns are questions exclusively for national contexts. Such formulations are inadequate in that modern societies have become marked by multiple and return migrations of people that defy the simple logic evident in talk of refugees and immigration. Further such questions inevitably highlight the exclusive role of citizenship given that many nations in the 'first world' are currently tightening their borders against 'outsiders'. As Lister (1997) argues in the European context the attempt to draw a line between citizens and foreigners creates strong material and symbolic boundaries. The control of borders between different world regions and different nations inevitably impacts upon the dynamics of multicultural societies given that it raises questions as to who and under what conditions is to be included and excluded (Solomos 2001). For Isin and Wood (1999) such is the centrality of these questions they prefer the term diasporic citizenship to that of multicultural citizenship. This acknowledges that the globe is the product of many and varied international migrations. According to the United Nations the number of refugees in the world has increased from 3 million in 1978 to 18.2 million in 1993. Further, it has been estimated that due to the masculine nature of warfare that 80 percent of refugees are women and children (Yuval-Davis 1997). Yet most of the new diversity evident in Western societies is the result of legal immigration rather than the impact of refugees. This has not however prevented 'minority' groups becoming the victim of nativist discrimination and violence, which has fuelled the rise of anti- immigrant political parties across Europe. The issue of immigration and refugees is currently one of the main testing grounds for a multicultural society stressing the ongoing tension between human rights and national forms of citizenship. The dilemma here has been neatly summed up by Benhabib (1999b) in that whereas no liberal democracy can lose its right to determine its own immigration policy they equally should not close their borders to refugees or asylum seekers. Such considerations take us way beyond the previous arguments in respect of liberalism and multiculturalism all of which overly presume the fiction of a closed society. The United Nations 1952 Convention of Refugees proclaimed the right to leave the host nation without a corresponding right of asylum. Normatively however all liberal democratic nations are under an obligation to individually recognise a human right to both entry and exit nation-states. As Benhabib recognises it makes little sense to recognise a right of departure without a corresponding right of entry. While admittance does not give peoples automatic rights of citizenship it does presuppose that there are well-established procedures to ensure that individuals receive a fair hearing. In other words multicultural societies are not simply constituted through an ongoing internal democratic and cultural conversation, but also through whom they include and exclude from their borders. These questions inevitably lead back to the concerns of the previous section and point to the enduring link between cosmopolitan and multicultural definitions of citizenship. Nations are increasingly under pressure in this regard from international agencies, which confront states with a number of constraints in this regard. Apart from the normative pressure of universal human rights the state also has to work with different sets of social conditions which are not of its own making (such as the impacts of other states policies and mediated public opinion) which inevitably move such questions into a cosmopolitan frame of reference (Sassen 1998). Hence while we might represent multiculturalism as 'the desire to find the cultural and political norms appropriate to more heterogeneous societies across nations' this is likely to be contradictory in practice (Chicago Cultural studies Group 1994: 114).

Yet if questions of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism are complicated by introducing the question of the exclusivity of national borders - they are mutually threatened by an identity politics built upon fundamentalism. Indeed multiculturalism's and cosmopolitanism's opposite is the attempt to build more solid and less fluid identities in the context of rapid social change. That is a conservative rhetoric in respect of cultural identity is a progressively powerful political force. Such features need to be connected to what Manuel Castells (1997) has called the network society which is characterised through simultaneous processes of economic development and underdevelopment. The 'black holes' of the informational economy include people who are socially and culturally out of communication with mainstream society. At the global level then the network society has produced a world where the top 20 per cent compared to the bottom have seen their income jump from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 78 to 1 in 1994 (Castells 1998). For Castells (1997:69), 'people all over the world resent loss of control over their lives, over their environment, over their jobs, over their economies, over their governments, over their countries, and, ultimately, over the fate of the Earth'. Defensive reactions to globalisation can be seen in a range of fundamentalist and communalist political movements and cultural struggles the world over. These features then provide a powerful challenge to the 'political' forces of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. In this way, the 'authenticity' of national and local fundamentalisms is likely to be erected against the intensifying global flows of money, people and identity (Ang 2000). Despite the intensification of the global flows of peoples and symbols a number of nationalistic and ethnically based social movements are attempting to reconnect questions of identity and territory. The appeal of 'sameness' continues for many to provide a way of addressing the anxieties of the global age (Gilroy 2000). The trick at the national level remains how to articulate a more fully inclusive society and culture that also recognises the need to decentre such an identity through the recognition of diaspora and difference. However, there are likely to remain tensions between cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism given the capacity of 'local'or 'national' forms of citizenship to close its borders against some global flows.

The prospects of rejoining cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism, it seems to me, are perfectly possible as long as they are able to take seriously questions of cultural identity. Neither viewpoint, as I have sought to argue, are compatible with a view of cultural identity as atomised individualism or as communally constructed selfhood. Both cosmopolitanism and multi-culturalism work with a view of cultural identity as a changing, fluid and dialogic construction. However these perspectives need be able to link the moral universalisms of a human rights discourse to a reflexive concern with the achievement of identity. Further multicultural questions have much to gain through an engagement with cosmopolitanism given its location within specifically national forms of thinking, which proves to be both its strength and weakness. Within these concerns we need to be able to sharpen our understanding of the complexity of modern social and political identities while maintaining the normative emphasis that both cosmoplitanism and multiculturalism provide. However, as we have seen in closing, such viewpoints have much to learn from each other given the robust challenge they are likely to continue to receive from less reflexive social identities and the tensions that will inevitably persist between different levels of governance. Yet we can also point to the continuation of a number of tensions within so called cosmopolitan perspectives in respect of cultural identity. For example, Turner and Rojek (2001) have recently argued that cosmopolitanism depends upon a cool/thin identity that is able to develop an ironic form of distance from their current cultural attachments. Such a view can be contrasted with more 'rooted cosmopolitanisms' which see no necessary contradiction between feelings of loyalty and commitment to particular cultures and an openness towards difference and otherness (Appiah 1998). Such a view would indeed open the possibility of maintaining a commitment towards particular national/local identities whilst seeking to dialogue with others who might have different connections. Here cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism are located less in a thin identity and more in the complex recognition of our loyalties and commitments to dialogue. We should resist the temptation to argue that cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism are best articulated by those who manage to avoid 'thick solidarities' (Turner 2000). It is not too fanciful to claim that a commitment to cosmos is indeed compatible with attachments to both place and dialogue.


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