Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199546039

Ali Rattansi
200 Pages
123 x 173 mm
Pub date
Sep 2011
Very Short Introductions


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  • Attempts to define the word 'multiculturalism' and looks at how the term is used in political debate, public policy, and within the educational arena
  • Examines the contemporary public debates and addresses issues of multicultural policy and its relation to social cohesion
  • Presents a balanced and comprehensive view of all the opinions surrounding this controversial subject
  • Considers alternatives to multiculturalism for the future

Multiculturalism appears to be in terminal crisis. It has been blamed for undermining national identity, diluting social cohesion, creating ethnic ghettos and cultural fragmentation, providing fertile ground for Islamic radicalism, encouraging perverse 'political correctness', and restricting liberal freedoms of expression, amongst other things. The public debate over multiculturalism has polarised opinion amongst the general public, policy makers, and politicians. But how much real evidence, beyond tabloid headlines and anecdotes, exists for these claims? 
In this Very Short Introduction, Ali Rattansi considers the actual evidence from social science research to provide a balanced assessment of the truth and falsity of the charges against multiculturalism. Dispelling many myths in the process, he also warns about the dangers that lurk in an uncritical endorsement of multiculturalism, and concludes by arguing that it is time to move on to a form of 'interculturalism'.


1: What is multiculturalism?
2: Is multiculturalism bad for women?
3: Is multiculturalism responsible for social disintegration, ghettos and 'parallel lives'?
4: Ethnic minority integration, class inequality and 'community cohesion'
5: National identity, belonging and 'the Muslim question'
6: Moving on: multiculturalism, interculturalism and transnationalism in a new global era
Further Reading

About the author: 

Ali Rattansi, Visiting Professor of Sociology, City University, London
Ali Rattansi was educated at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. His publications include Racism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2007), Race, Culture, and Difference (Sage 1992), and Racism, Modernity, and Identity (Polity Press, 1994).

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