Interculturalism vs Multiculturalism-Urban Politics

Topics: Culture, Multiculturalism, Sociology Pages: 17 (4973 words) Published: May 30, 2014
GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT, SPRING TERM (Amount of words: 5012 for 5 credits)


With increasing cultural and social differentiation in Europe and other parts of world by migration or relocation after following decolonization and post war era also has brought some ambiguous problems in the sense of disputes, contest between social and cultural groups. It causes to scholars discuss and reconsider the concept of ‘nation state’ and tries to find solutions to diversity like Multiculturalism, Interculturalism and Liberalism. That paper criticallyaimstoexaminedefinitionsandsome aspectsofinterculturalismand multiculturalism. It starts to discuss positive points of Interculturalism by comparing with multiculturalism.Itcanbe basicallyexemplifiedbyemphasizingmainpoints of Interculturalism such as fostering interaction between cultures, providing collective identities among citizens and rejecting illiberal cultural perspectives. Moreover, it also aims to examine how can intercultural policies implement to city planning, how it can be fostered and what are the possible benefits of intercultural policies on city planning by specifically examining Helsinki City.

KEY WORDS: Multiculturalism and Interculturalism, Intercultural City Policies, Helsinki

‘Multiculturalism’ vs. ‘Interculturalism’

To start with Multiculturalism; it’s good to pointed out that interpretations of such terms are quite challenging. That is noted by Bhabha (1998: 31) who has tried to explain the terms as a ‘portmanteau term’, which can cover a variety of meanings inside and critiques. In this respect, the idea of multiculturalism might be said to have a ‘chameleonic’ quality that facilitates its simultaneous adoption and rejection in the critique or defense of a position (Smith 2010). That’s to say, point of view is essential factor to evaluate the term. It has different meanings and the way of performing in different places. As discussing Multiculturalism in North American countries in a comparable manner with Europe, difference among them is quite obvious. To take an example from Federal Canada which is more modest compared with north-western Europe in the case of Multicultural policies. (Brubaker 2001, Joppke 2004, McGhee 2008) Of course possible political damage of Multicultural policies are also relatively more than Europe. Multiculturalism basically includes seven important points; it starts with recognition of different cultural groups and then continues with respecting each other. Public has a role of promoting existence of small groups and assist them to preserve their own value. Rosada (1997) explains Multiculturalism like a system which beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, acknowledges and values their socio-cultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organization or society. Nature of Multicultural policy is referring to facilitating fragmentation then it celebrates the diversity emerged from society. It also seeks to emphasize rights and safety of minorities. Moreover it tries to promote group representation and political, economical and social attendance of different groups. Even though definition discussed above drawing general lines of Multiculturalism, as it stated before the term can refer diverse meanings and different motivations, focus in different cases. Case of Canada for example, focus was from the start on constitutional and land issues, in a way that informed definitions of nationhood and related to unresolved legal questions concerning the entitlements and status of indigenous peoples, not to mention the...

References: 5- Smith, J.I., 2004. Muslims as partners in interfaith encounter: models for dialogue. In: Z.H. Bukhari, S.S.
6- Nasar Meer & Tariq Modood, 2011, How does Interculturalism Contrast with Multiculturalism?
7- Wood, P., Landry, C
8- Kymlicka, W., 2005b. The uncertain futures of multiculturalism. Canadian diversity, 4 (1), 82_85.
9- Joppke, C., 2004. The retreat of multiculturalism in the liberal state: theory and policy. British journal of sociology, 55 (2), 237_257.
10- Field, C.D., 2007. Islamophobia in contemporary Britain: the evidence of the opinion polls, 1988_ 2006.
Intercultural City’
13- Quoted from Phil Wood and Charles Landry, Report by Comedia, 2010, ‘Helsinki as an open and Intercultural City’, Figures from the Duo Project
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