8.3.3 Multiculturalism’s limitations

Dr. Arjun Tremblay

Multiculturalism’s fate might also be sealed for an altogether different reason; it may simply no longer be what is needed to remedy injustices and to protect minority groups in liberal democracies. In the last decade, we have witnessed unprecedented mobilization around issues of diversity and identity. However, social movements such as Idle No More, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Rhodes Must Fall, the Catalan independence demonstrations, and Black Lives Matter have largely avoided using the word “multiculturalism”. Rather, these movements have developed and mainstreamed a diversity-oriented discourse built on the ideas and principles of decolonization, Indigenization, sovereignty and anti-racism. Furthermore, a growing number of scholars, including Will Kymlicka himself, have pointed to multiculturalism’s limitations in addressing anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. Consequently, it may now be time for the development of a new politics of diversity in liberal democracies that can achieve racial equality and ensure the recognition of minority cultures.

Discussion Questions

  1. Which school of thought on multiculturalism (the Canadian school of thought or the Bristol School of Multiculturalism) do you think you might belong to?
  2. Is multiculturalism disappearing across liberal democracies or is it surviving as a policy outcome and as a policy option?
  3. Should multiculturalism be replaced by one of its integrationist rivals? If so, which one?
  4. Is multiculturalism a suitable politics of diversity for the 21st century? Should it be revised, reformed, or replaced?



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Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Arjun Tremblay is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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