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Multiculturalism and the Welfare StateRecognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies$
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Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199289172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289172.001.0001

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Does the recognition of national minorities undermine the welfare state?

Does the recognition of national minorities undermine the welfare state?

(p.247) 9 Does the recognition of national minorities undermine the welfare state?
Multiculturalism and the Welfare State

Nicola McEwen

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers whether the accommodation of national minorities through the according of self-government at the regional level undermines the welfare state. Most Western states with sizeable national minorities have accommodated minority nationalist aspirations through some form of federal or quasi-federal territorial autonomy. This chapter examines the impact of this sort of devolution or regionalization on the welfare state in the UK, Belgium, and Canada. The chapter concludes that such institutional reforms have had complex effects on social policy, both at the central level and in the self-governing regions. It has set in play political dynamics that sometimes work to strengthen social policy as a tool of nation-building, and sometimes serve to inhibit new redistributive policies. As a result, no simple general patterns leap out, challenging assertions that accommodating substate nationalism inevitably weakens the welfare state.

Keywords:   national minorities, Canada, Belgium, Great Britain, minority recognition, self-government, welfare state, social policy

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