MULTICULTURALISM AND EUROPE
By - SUJOY SUR
MAHIMA DEEPAK SRIVASTAVA
Multiculturalism in Europe
Reasons for failure
This paper tries to define the concept of Multiculturalism and the working of this concept in Europe. This project focuses on the three major countries of Europe viz. Germany, Britain and France and tries to understand the implementation of the policy of Multiculturalism and how well has it faired. A brief history of the cultural background of these countries has also been provided to help in understanding how well multiculturalism has been received and what has been the scene after its implementation. This project doesn’t limit itself to giving an account of the happening in Europe with regard to Multiculturalism but also deals with the problems which this concept faces and the solution it requires.
The problem of immigration is a global one with culture being its epicentre. In the ever emerging globalised world there has been a lot of controversy regarding the immigration taking place in Europe and the problem the European world is facing with regard its ‘plural culture ’. Multiculturalism is a political concept which deals with management of society which has multiple cultures. It aims not only at Social and Political equality but also to empower the minority culture groups with group specific rights. It aims that the dominant group of the society doesn’t overpower and exploit the subordinate one thus leading to the loss of that culture and identity crisis for the individual belonging to that culture. The policy of Multiculturalism has been a much debated one in the recent past in the political arena of Europe with many of the political leaders condemning it. The policy of multiculturalism needs to be understood in light of the three European superpowers which had implemented it a long time back in their system. These countries are i) Germany
ii) Britain, and
Further, it needs to be understood why the policy of multiculturalism has been dubbed as a ‘failure’ and what are the loopholes in it and what are the solutions to these loopholes, if any.
“In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic of colourful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance, and abuse.” * Ayaan Hirsi Ali
This quote by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali feminist activist, triggers a very important debate and questions the phenomenon of Globalisation. With the advent of Globalisation and the end of colonialism in most parts of the world, the world has witnessed global migration patterns, the result of which is that now most nations in the world have ceased to be mono-cultural. This points towards the issue of Multiculturalism, which has gained huge political prominence in recent times. It is important to understand here that Multiculturalism must not be used synonymously with the concept of Cultural Pluralism. In Cultural Pluralism different cultures are allowed in separate cultural spheres, but society has no obligation to acknowledge or support alternative cultural forms. Whereas, Multiculturalism encourages different cultures and individuals are considered a part of the collectivties that provide meaning to their lives, therefore, Multiculturalism seeks ways to support these collectivities. Thus, to put it succinctly, multiculturalism is a philosophy that appreciates ethnic diversity and encourages people to learn from the contributions of those of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Multiculturalism is a concept which...
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