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In this course, Professor Tariq Modood (University of Bristol) explores the idea of multiculturalism. In the first module, we think about what constitutes ‘difference’ between distinct groups in a multicultural society. In the second module, we think about the different meanings of ‘equality’ that are relevant in a multicultural society – equality as equal rights and the idea of equality as respect for difference. And in the third module, we think about the relationship between multiculturalism, citizenship and national identity, and in particular the compatibility between a multicultural society and a strong national identity.
Multiculturalism is about two concepts: difference and equality. In this module, we think about the first of those concepts, focusing in particular on: (i) Will Kymlicka’s view on the different kind of groups that multiculturalism applies to – indigenous populations, national minorities and those of migrant origin; (ii) the centrality of the last of these groups (people of migrant origin) when discussing multiculturalism in the UK and Western Europe; (iii) the fact that a sense of difference is not confined to the fact of migration nor to the recency of migration – it also applies to second- and third-generation migrants; (iv) the fact that a sense of difference is not confined to economic relations – it also applies to groups who are not economically disadvantaged compared to the majority (e.g. British Indians); (v) the importance of how people are identified, both by themselves and by society at large; and (vi) the attempt by people of migrant origin to contest their identity in the public sphere – to replace the (sometimes negative) characteristics applied to them by others and replace them with the (more positive) characteristics of their own choosing.