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Multiculturalism Reconsidered 'Culture and Equality' and its Critics by Paul Kelly

Multiculturalism Reconsidered 'Culture and Equality' and its Critics


Multiculturalism Reconsidered 'Culture and Equality' and its Critics by Paul Kelly

Can multiculturalists be egalitarians and should egalitarians be multiculturalists? Is the absence of cultural recognition an injustice in the same way as the absence of individual rights or basic resources? These are some of the questions considered in this wide-ranging series of essays inspired by the political philosopher Brian Barry. Multiculturalist political theorists and policy-makers argue that liberal egalitarianism fails to take seriously the role of culture and group identity in defining harms and cases of injustice. Because liberal egalitarians adopt a culturally neutral account of what principles and institutions of justice should distribute, they ignore an important way in which these norms actually reinforce injustice rather than eradicate it. A whole host of thinkers have used liberal egalitarianism's neutrality on issues of culture to criticize contemporary theories of justice. This multicultural challenge to liberal egalitarianism has recently received a forceful response from Barry in his book Culture and Equality. Drawing on an international cast from Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia, Multiculturalism Reconsidered puts Barry's challenge to the test. With contributions from Chandran Kukathas, James Tully, Bhikhu Parekh, Susan Mendus and Ian Shapiro, amongst others, and a response from Brian Barry, this book ranges widely over the issues raised by multiculturalism and egalitarianism. This book will prove an indispensable resource for all those who wish to locate themselves in debates about equality, culture, identity and group rights.


Brian Barry's polemical assault on multiculturalism has provoked an impressive -- and vigorous -- set of responses. The individual contributions are of very high quality, while the volume as a whole is unusually coherent and productive. This is political theory at its best: entertaining, philosophically sophisticated and politically relevant. An excellent collection on a crucial issue. Adam Swift, Balliol College, Oxford In Culture and Equality Brian Barry set out to do a demolition job on multiculturalism ... Multiculturalism Reconsidered provides an opportunity for some of Barrya s protagonists to answer back ... In general, there are some thoughtful responses worthy of more detailed consideration. Gurharpal Singh, The Times Higher educatiion Supplement [This book] is a worthwhile addition to the ongoing intramural debate among liberals about multiculturalism. Canadian Journal of Political Science

About the Author

Paul Kelly is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science

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Book Info

Publication date

12th October 2002


Paul Kelly

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Polity Press


256 pages


History of Western philosophy



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