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Discuss How Castles Sees Mulitculturalism Essay

1656 words - 7 pages

“Discuss how Castles Multiculturalism”

The emergence of multiculturalism as prominent term in Western discourse concerning ethnic diversity, conflict and management coincides with increasing awareness in the Western industrial societies, especially over the last two decades, that ethnic groups had not lost their saliency in the lives of large numbers of people. Their earlier perceptions about such a loss of saliency coincides with the 19th century emergence of modern-industrial states, where social theorists such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx, theorised that status based social differentiation was replaced by the social class as the driving force in society. Ethnicity and racial differences ...view middle of the document...

Outside the Western industrial societies there was never the illusion that ethnic and racial differences were unimportant or non-existent. Often they constituted the fabric of everyday life and, especially for newly independent states, an important dimension of " nation-building " involved managing the issue of ethnic and cultural diversity. The proliferation of new States following decolonisation has not resulted in the disappearance of multi-ethnic/multi-cultural populations within the new States. In fact, the colonial legacy of departing powers left the new rulers with the dilemma of building a nation through the incorporation of diverse ethnic groups.
Although multiculturalism as a description of demographic diversity is a global phenomenon, it has led to the existence of programmatic-political multiculturalism at the national or sub-national levels only in a few countries. There is no inevitable link between description and political response. The dynamics of ethnic diversity is more important in the Asia-Pacific region than anywhere else in the world where Castles has a had a first encounter. The links between ethnic relations policy, national identity and social cohesion in States of this region awaits further specification, but certain linkages between national identity and multiculturalism clearly are discernible. The few nations in the region which have national identity based on homogeneity such as Japan and Korea, have effectively excluded ethnic diversity from consideration and policy initiatives. In Japan the cultural diversity advocated is the one associated with external countries and societies, rather than internal diversity as linked to ethnic minorities. Familiarity and incorporation of foreign cultures has been a hallmark of Japanese society since well before the Meiji restoration, and the present policy accords with this tradition of selective borrowing. This is very different from the acceptance of internal diversity.
The majority of former colonial states seeking to build national unity out of the diversity resulting from colonial experience have had to directly address and seek to manage ethnic diversity, often in a highly conflictual form. Their policies in key areas such as education have often had to make provision for diversity while also establishing a unifying set of cultural symbols, including especially, language. While diversity is often an important part of their national ideologies, the objective of minimal assimilation to key values coexists with a pattern of often considerable structural and institutional pluralism. To view conflicts springing from these intense ethnic divides as evidence of the inevitable failure of multicultural policies is to confuse demographic-descriptive multiculturalism with the programmatic-political form. Indeed, it is more accurate to view such conflicts as a reflection of policies which have pursued an ethnic group model over a lengthy period and in which a certain level of...

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