Contextualization of Multiculturalism, Diversity of the Concept and Models

Vladas Bartochevis

Abstract


All societies feel the phenomenon of multiculturalism in today’s world to a certain degree. Collision between people with different cultures and different experiences become trivial, routine events. Multiculturalism may be a cause for an economic and cultural developments or otherwise be a cause of social conflicts. This will depend on how the country sees this phenomenon and is prepared to face it.
In order to understand multiculturalism as a phenomenon of reality it is important to realize that it is an inevitable result of the evolution of humanity. It is possible to arrive at this conclusion through the analysis of the processes of erosion of the nation-state, of globalization and of the formation and prosperity of network societies. It is still important to understand that the concept of multiculturalism is characterized by its multifacetedness and focuses on the fact that people from different cultures, histories, and experiences share the same space.
This concept also comprises all questions and answers that lie beneath the laconic description of multiculturalism viewed as a political project. How are the relationships between the natives and new arrivals developing? How should politicians react? Should new citizens be tolerated or isolated, or, perhaps, assimilated? There isn’t a universal answer to multiculturalism because the comprehension of this problem also isn’t universal. This comprehension depends on the experiences and political-cultural reality of the country.
The researchers have different visions about how they should respond to the multiculturalism’s challenges. Often the response to the issue devides experts into two major groups: to the conservative and to the emancipatory group. The way the first group chose as an answer to the issue leads to inequality, it seeks the possibility to avoid foreigners or isolate, or assimilate them. The second group promotes the way that leads to equality in society and it can be divided into two alternative modes: 1. The State is neutral as far as possible with the emphasis on complete equality; 2. The State is active and looks for protection of differences, and thus is trying to ensure the real equality.
Both groups emphasize the responsibility of the majority and the government, but it is also necessary to consider the responsibility of the minority for successful functioning of multicultural society. An enhanced role for minorities in the multicultural society depends on their own disposition to be flexible and open to interaction, to become more active and more important to the entire society.
The article analyses the works of leading experts related on multiculturalism issues, the works of J. M. André, J. Rawls, M. Nussbaun, H. Tajfel, M. Walzer, S. Moscovici, M. Castells, C. Taylor, W. Kimlickos and others.

Keywords


multiculturalism; globalisation; network society; majority; minority

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236