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  • Becoming Minority: How Discourses and Policies Produce Minorities in Europe and India ed. by Jyotirmaya Tripathy and Sudarsan Padmanabhan
  • Ann Riley-Adams
Tripathy, Jyotirmaya and Sudarsan Padmanabhan, eds. Becoming Minority: How Discourses and Policies Produce Minorities in Europe and India. London: Sage Publications, 2014.

Becoming Minority: How Discourses and Policies Produce Minorities in Europe and India is a collection of essays on the topics of minority and minoritization, which include issues such as inclusion and exclusion, ethnicity, and identity. Editors Jyotirmaya Tripathy and Sudarsan Padmanabhan have limited the scope of the book to Europe and India. They have divided the essays into three general sections: The Making of Minority, The European Experience, and The Indian Experience. Since Europe and India are some of the most culturally diverse regions on the planet, this book attempts to understand how both areas deal with the issues of minority and diversity through policies, politics, and social reform. Both Tripathy, who specializes in cultural studies, and Padmanabhan, who specializes in social and political philosophy, are professors in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India.

In Part 1, The Making of Minority, three essays address the development and contextualization of minority categories in society. Tripathy and Padmanabhan discuss the development of the concept of minority and its current celebration in modern democracies. Barbara Franz looks at the contextualization of minority and its essential elements of naming and labels. She points out the individual versus group mentality, or sameness versus difference, in the development of religious and ethnic minorities in Europe. Lajwanti Chatani discusses the pursuit of minority rights and recognition in modern India. Throughout this section, the authors propose that we move beyond traditional modes of analyzing minority in society and instead use approaches that are more modern, such as self-determination.

Part 2, The European Experience, covers seven geographical areas. Abdoulaye Gueye explores how blacks and Arabs are being recognized as minorities in modern France. Ulf Mörkenstam discusses the discursive colonization of the Sâmi culture in Sweden and the policies designed to protect this indigenous [End Page 201] minority culture. Identity in contemporary Scotland is the topic of Sherrill Storschein's contribution, which addresses the use of rhetoric to outline differences between Scots and English during the 2014 Scottish Independence campaign. Apostolos Agnantopoulos views an example of ethnocentric exclusionary nation-state discourse in western Thrace, where the majority ethnic Greeks view the minority Muslim Turks as possibly dangerous outsiders. Danish reliance on traditional values as a way of excluding immigrants, Muslims, and even women from equal status is Peter Hervik's topic. Hervik describes this kind of moral imperative as exclusionary, discriminatory, and not based in fact. Paul Mutsaers, Hans Siebers, and Arie de Ruijter explore conflict and "self-minoritization" in the Netherlands. They theorize that discourse hostile to migrants has fueled ethno-manufacturing, the production of ethnic identities by those in authority using ethno-political distinctions rather than commonalities like shared language, and that this topic demands further study. Gëzim Alpion rebukes the theories of Enoch Powell and argues that a multi-racial and multi-cultural British society can be cohesive with support from politicians and community leaders.

In Part 3, The Indian Experience, Bishnu Mohapatra, looks at the Muslim minority in India and examines whether inclusive policies should focus on welcoming all members of all ethnic groups or on providing resources for development to poorer groups. Mohamed Mehdi discusses the deep and lasting emotional pain religious minorities have suffered in India and whether this is sufficiently addressed by policy. Malavika Menon looks at whether it is advisable to perpetuate minorities by preserving their cultural differences. She finds that more and more educational institutions in India are headed by minority commissions, a development that has repercussions for the state as a whole. Shireen Murza discusses the legal challenges to designated holy lands in Hyderabad's Old City and explores whether the separation of this space is exclusionary and definitive of minority. Anjana Raghavan explores the complicated postcolonial caste system through the lens of Tamil identity.

The contributions in these sections provide a wide-angle look at ideas and policies related...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2476-1419
Print ISSN
2476-1397
Pages
pp. 201-203
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-17
Open Access
No
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