What is Multiculturalism (Multiculturalism)?June 28, 2021
Both multiculturalism and multiculturalism have emerged in Western societies. Multiculturalism, which is a phenomenon, has given birth to its own “ideology”, the understanding of multiculturalism. We can say that multiculturalism is the ideological reflection of multiculturalism.
The situation, the problems arising from its concrete situation, necessitated a theoretical basis. Multiculturalism, whose usage history can be traced back to after 1950, which is described as postmodern, became a discourse that started to become widespread in the United States of America in the 1960s, then spread to Western Europe and is used today to include the policies implemented to protect the cultural differences of immigrant groups.
According to Christian Joppke, multiculturalism is a product of the homogenization of the nation-state, and migrations from peripheral countries to core countries create ethnic and racial diversity and bring along multiculturalist demands (Joppke 1996, pp. 451-453). According to Cemal Yalçın, the main goal in the discourses of multiculturalism, which started as a political model in countries with dense and increasing immigrant populations such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, and then spread to Western European countries, is to create a more harmonious society through the recognition and tolerance of differences (Yalçın 2002, p. .46).
According to David Bennett, multiculturalism has also been used in meanings such as assimilation and cultural discrimination, Marxism, ethnic nationalism, international market strategies, minority competition for state resources, radical democracy and ostensible arrangements for the liberal-democratic status quo (Bennett 1998, p.1-2). ).
Although multiculturalism points to a crisis in the definition of “nation” in various forms, the definitions of self-proliferated multiculturalism are generally perceived as a regional, domestic issue, and emerge under different names, unplanned as it first emerged (ibid., p. 3). The definition of multiculturalism by multicultural states can be expressed as “a perspective towards solving the problems and principles shared by communities from different cultures represented today, which voices the dreams between national and institutional structures” (ibid.). In fact, the meaning we attribute to multiculturalism, according to Bennett, is directly related to who we are as well as how we define ourselves or the ethnic/cultural group to which we belong to by others (ibid., p. 4).
Assimilation is the name of the transformation of a community over time by forgetting its own cultural values and adopting the language and cultural values of the majority group. While assimilation is generally an imposition and coercion of the dominant society on other communities they live with by the state, in some cases communities can assimilate without any external pressure.
David Goldberg pointed to monoculturalism as the most prominent reason for the emergence of multiculturalism (Goldberg 1994, p. 8). According to Goldberg, it is monoculturalism policies in Western Europe and North America that paved the way for the emergence of multiculturalism (ibid.). The aim of monoculturalism was to assimilate immigrants of different ethnic origins and melt them into a pot; this is a process that is expected to gradually extend until the destruction of the “other” (ibid., pp. 8-10).
This assimilationist point of view could not close the gap between the ideals of liberal democracy and the reality of society, and it also failed to assimilate certain ethnic groups into the basic views of society due to their physical-cultural characteristics, that is, it fell short of achieving its most basic goal (ibid.).
The melting pot used in the United States is a term originating from a monoculturalist understanding of politics, which indicates that ethnic minorities who migrated from different countries abandon their language, cultural values, and lifestyles in order to adapt to their new state, and in turn gain a new national identity.
Although multiculturalism seems to emphasize the collapse of the nation-state model, it would not be right to ignore that it strengthens the nation-state and expands the inclusiveness of the nation-state by realizing the ideals of democracy in social life.
It can be said that there are two types of application models of multiculturalism today. These are liberal multiculturalism and radical multiculturalism. In liberal multiculturalism, there is no place for legal, social and political discrimination, and the correct application of human rights and the protection of identities as a result are ensured. In radical multiculturalism, however, it is impossible to talk about a common cultural policy on the communities subordinate to the state itself. In this model, each culture is endowed with its own political rights and the capacity to determine its own future, and ethno-cultural groups define their belonging to society without giving up their collective rights.
The two most common forms of practice of multiculturalism today are liberal multiculturalism and radical multiculturalism.