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Deep Cultural Diversity

A Governance Challenge

Gilles Paquet

Publication Year: 2008

Political commentator and public policy analyst Gilles Paquet examines the benefits and drawbacks of Canada's multiculturalism policy. He rejects the current policy which perpetuates difference and articulates a model for Canadian transculturalism, a more fluid understanding of multiculturalism based on the philosophy of cosmopolitanism which would strengthen moral contracts and encourage the social engagement of all Canadians.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Governance Series

Table of Contents

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pp. iii

List of Figures

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pp. v

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pp. vii-x

Deep cultural diversity is not a new phenomenon. From time immemorial significantly different groups have been forced to face one another, and to decide how they would handle their conflicts and differences. In prehistoric times, archaeologists tell us, small family-tribes numbering thirty to fifty suddenly came across other family-tribes rather different from them in looks, traits, and mores....

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Introduction: Diversity as Weasel Word and Multiculturalism as Questionable

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pp. 1-9

Coping with diversity cannot be meaningfully undertaken without some probing of what is meant by "diversity. " The word is opaque and ideologically loaded, and has been used as a convenient label to connote very different realities and to underpin quite different programmes of action. First, some have used "diversity" as a picturesque word to describe the outcome of the great shuffling of population that...


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Chapter 1 The Problematic of Cultural Pluralism

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pp. 13-23

Betting on diversity is a moral and political act. It is "the celebration of human possibilities." This position is based on the beliefs that the best way in which individuals can make a good life for themselves is to have a plurality of values at their disposal; that cultural plurality is an asset; and that it is the role of the state to create the conditions in which diversity can blossom (Kekes 1993). However,...

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Chapter 2 Intercultural Relations: A Myrdal–Tocqueville–Girard Interpretative Scheme

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pp. 25-38

A major change in the intensity of cultural interpenetration has taken place over the past one hundred years or so. In remote times and on remote offshore islands, primitive cultures had limited involvement with one another. This does not mean ...

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Chapter 3 Political Philosophy of Multiculturalism

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pp. 39-50

The purpose of this chapter is not to survey the history of multiculturalism, nor to critically evaluate it, but to try to put in place a framework for strategic analysis of the Canadian scene. It aims to do this on the basis of a few distinctions and some of the learning that has been accumulated in Canada and elsewhere along the way, in order to ascertain roughly what plausible scenarios might be envisaged now that pluralism, as traditionally conceived, has given way to multiculturalism ...


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Chapter 4 Multiculturalism as National Policy

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pp. 53-66

Multiculturalism is a label for many things in Canada. It describes our multiethnic cultural mosaic, it denotes a policy of the federal government, and it refers to an ideology of cultural pluralism. As a Canadian policy it is one of the most daring initiatives of the past forty years, but it has been assessed in varying ways, ranging from being hailed as "enlightened" (Jaenen 1986) to ...

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Chapter 5 Are There Limits to Diversity?

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pp. 67-76

Six sets of considerations define the problem area for this chapter. First, variety is a crucial factor in the development of complex systems, but that does not mean that maximum variety is optimum variety. There is a balance between the sort of variety that generates novelty and the need for a basic zone of security if efficient social learning and creative adaptation are to ensue. Second, diversity was in the past ...

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Chapter 6 Diversity, Egalitarianism, and Cosmopolitanism

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pp. 77-89

Canada, like many other countries, has chosen to cope with diversity by adopting an official policy of "laissez-faire multiculturalism plus." This has meant allowing deep cultural diversity to crystallize, helping it to do so with some financial support, and conferring enormous moral authority upon it, chiefly through the provision in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that the Charter itself has to be interpreted in "a manner consistent with the preservation and...


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Chapter 7 Moral Contract as Enabling Mechanism

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pp. 93-102

"Diversity" is a complex and essentially contested concept. It can also be a taboo topic. While most modern societies are becoming more diverse in a factual sense—more heterogeneous, polyphonic, multiethnic—it is clear that all are not embracing an objective of maintaining or enhancing diversity as an ideal per se ... (Dahrendorf 1988, Paquet 1989a, Scott 2003). Indeed, ...

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Chapter 8 Citizenship as Umbrella Strategy

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pp. 103-128

Pluralism is a world view that defines societies as fragmented and discontinuous, composed of different complementary/conflictive parts or spheres that are incommensurable and therefore cannot be reduced to a single logic. In plural societies there is a constant and active process of reconciliation, harmonization, and effective coordination...

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Chapter 9 The Charter as Governance Challenge

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pp. 129-158

As Guillermo O'Donnell (1998) reminds us, governance in Western-style democracies is a balance among democracy, liberalism, and republicanism. Such a balance is required because any one of these principles carries a risk, were it to become completely dominant, of triggering a drift into a tyranny of the majority, a tyranny of the rich, or a tyranny of the elites. Such governance ...

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Conclusion: A Primer on the Governance of Cultures

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pp. 159-181

The forum where political and social conversations help to forge beliefs, mores, practices, and so on, needs governing as much as the market does, and there is most certainly a role for government in "providing and protecting the forum, and intervening within it" (Tussman 1977, p. vii). Indeed, there is nothing necessarily totalitarian implied in such intervention in the affairs of the mind. Yet extreme...


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pp. 183-184


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pp. 185-203


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pp. 205-225

E-ISBN-13: 9780776617503
E-ISBN-10: 0776617508
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776606736
Print-ISBN-10: 0776606735

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Governance Series