Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199546039

Ali Rattansi
200 ページ
123 x 173 mm
Very Short Introductions
  • 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


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).

Anyone seeking an authoritative analysis of multiculturalism need look no further than this book. Comparative in nature, sophisticated yet accessible, it demolishes the myths that opponents have created around multicultural policies. The author also provides an incisive contribution to where the debate about such poicies should move in the future. - Professor Lord Anthony Giddens

Ali Rattansi has written a highly accessible and academically sound analysis of research outcomes and actual policy measures in Britain and several other West European immigration countries, in particular France and the Netherlands. He argues convincingly that implementing core Western values cannot but lead to a form of multiculturalism, even though most politicians no longer like to give it that name. I highly recommend reading this book. - Han Entzinger, Erasmus University Rotterdam