8.2 Multiculturalism’s Variants

Arjun Tremblay

From the mid-20th century onwards, governments across liberal democracies have implemented public policies that recognize cultural diversity and set out to accommodate minority cultural groups, albeit in varying ways and to different extents. For instance, governments in four liberal democratic states – Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and Sweden – implemented a policy of “official multiculturalism.” That is to say, they implemented a national-level policy that formally recognized the multicultural nature of their society – focusing specifically on polyethnic diversity – and pledged to make the process of immigrant integration fairer. Other democracies have adopted a range of “multiculturalism policies” despite never implementing a policy of official multiculturalism. And, as we shall see, multiculturalism has even caught on as a public policy in environments that, on the surface, seem inhospitable to the recognition and accommodation of minority cultures.


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