Multiculturalism is one of the most controversial ideas in contemporary politics. In this new book George Crowder examines some of the leading responses to multiculturalism, both supportive and critical, found in the work of recent political theorists. The book provides a clear and accessible introduction to a diverse array of thinkers who have engaged with multiculturalism. These include Will Kymlicka, whose account of cultural rights is seminal, liberal critics of multiculturalism such as Brian Barry and Susan Okin, and multiculturalist critics of liberalism including Charles Taylor, Iris Marion Young, James Tully, and Bhikhu Parekh. In addition the discussion covers a wide range of other perspectives on multiculturalism - libertarian, feminist, democratic, nationalist, cosmopolitan - and rival accounts of Islamic and Confucian political culture. While offering a balanced assessment of these theories, Crowder also argues the case for a distinctive liberal-pluralist approach to multiculturalism, combining a liberal framework that emphasises the importance of personal automy with the value pluralism of thinkers such as Isaiah Berlin. This clear and comprehensive account will be an indispensable textbook for students in politics, sociology and political and social theory.
George Crowder is professor in the School of Political and International Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide.