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The Multiculturalism of Fear$
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Jacob T. Levy

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297122.001.0001

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Cruelty and Conflict in Multiethnic Politics

Cruelty and Conflict in Multiethnic Politics

(p.40) 2 Cruelty and Conflict in Multiethnic Politics
The Multiculturalism of Fear

Jacob T. Levy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Describes four characteristic dangers arising from cultural pluralism, dangers with which a multiculturalism of fear must concern itself: forcible inclusion of an ethnic minority that wishes to retain its own identity; forcible exclusion from citizenship and the protection of the state of small and stigmatized minorities; internal cruelty, arising from attempts by communal leaders to prevent members from assimilating to or hybridizing with a neighbouring culture; and the outcast status of those who leave their ancestral ethnic communities. Forced inclusion and forced exclusion are analysed as the two sides of an impulse towards nation‐state homogeneity. Internal cruelty, particularly against girls and women, often increases in reaction against assimilationist pressures from outside. State regulation of internal cruelty is legitimate and justified, but must be carefully done. Prohibited‐but‐still‐practised customs may be the most dangerous for group members, leaving selective acceptance and recognition as often preferable to outright bans.

Keywords:   assimilation, citizenship, cruelty, cultural pluralism, customs, ethnic minorities, forced exclusion, forced inclusion, nation‐state, women

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