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The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  15 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Across the West, something called multiculturalism is in crisis. Regarded as the failed experiment of liberal elites, commentators and politicians compete to denounce its corrosive legacies; parallel communities threatening social cohesion, enemies within cultivated by irresponsible cultural relativism, mediaeval practices subverting national "ways of life" and universal v ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Zed Books (first published August 12th 2010)
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Feb 24, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
Multiculturalism has come under increasing attack in the past two decades. It began with a backlash against affirmative action in the US in the 1990s, and intensified after 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks in Europe. Now it’s routine to see multiculturalist excess derided and mocked.

In this book, Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley do a good job of charting the process, and also exposing the true reasons for it. Multiculturalism is a straw man, the authors argue. Despite what you read all the tim
Dec 09, 2012 Don rated it really liked it
Densely argued account of multiculturalism's crisis within the frame of neo-liberal global politics.

The authors regard multiculturalism itself as being something of a damp squib, have "rarely amounted to more than a patchwork of initiatives, rhetoric and aspirations in any given context." Its importance is less than what it is, than what it has come to mean to the global ruling elites. Yet resistance to the current mood of rejection of multiculturalism is important, because this is really a reje
Carmen Thong
Apr 14, 2016 Carmen Thong rated it liked it
Very info-heavy, which is useful - but doesn't seem to offer much theorisation or useful synthesis... Maybe it's because it's a history monograph rather than an English one, which might explain the style. A lot of the examples went over my head.

I have to say though, that the writing style hangs too loosely on the framework. Every paragraph feels as if its slipping and sliding everywhere, not much cohesiveness and the style itself is rather too technical - mechanical would be the word, with not
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“the particular equation of multiculturalism and Muslims is always positional, but it mediates broadly comparable structural anxieties, and garners political energy from a process of transnational validation.” 0 likes
“In his theorizaton of crisis racism under Thatcherism and in the France of an insurgent Front national, Etienne Balibar describes how the invocation of crisis licenses the ‘crossing of certain thresholds of intolerance […] which are generally turned on the victims themselves and described as thresholds of tolerance’ (Balibar and Wallerstein 1991: 219, italics in original). Establishing the intolerable is crucial to the exercise of racisms integral to but disavowed in national and European imaginaries (Blommaert and Verschueren 1998: 78). This preserves a hegemonic self-image of the tolerant acting intolerantly under duress: the 2004 redesignation of the wearing of the hijab in France as intrinsically an act of proselytization, the defence of the publication of the Jyllands Posten cartoons as an inclusive act of mockery, the objection to a Muslim cultural centre and ‘inter-faith prayer space’ near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York as an ‘assertion of Islamic triumphalism that we should not tolerate’ (see Pilkington 2010).” 0 likes
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