What is the Relationship between Multiculturalism and Multiculturalism?June 28, 2021
When considering what can be understood from multiculturalism and multiculturalism, it becomes clear that the distinction between these two concepts is based on the distinction between what is more and what should be.
Multiculturalism is the name of a situation, phenomenon. Multiculturalism is the thought about it, the theory of this situation, it conceptualizes what should be. For this reason, not every multicultural society or nation-state may follow a multicultural policy. In other words, a state to which a multicultural society is affiliated does not always have to adopt a multiculturalist understanding of politics. Multiculturalism, as can be understood from what has been said above, is not just limited to the coexistence of cultures under the same roof of state, it is more than that. This redundancy includes the recognition of different cultures by the state and society and the recognition of cultural rights on the ground of law. Parekh says the following about multicultural society and approaches to this phenomenon:
“A multicultural society is a society that includes two or more cultural communities. A multicultural society can respond to cultural diversity in two ways, each showing different forms: either it welcomes cultural diversity, puts it at the center for understanding and respects the cultural demands it puts forward for its own survival, or it can assimilate these communities by dissolving them into the majority culture. In the first case, you become multiculturalist in orientation and ethics, and in the second case, monoculturalist. Either way, you live in a multicultural society, but only one of them is multicultural. The term ‘multicultural society’ refers to cultural diversity as a phenomenon, the term ‘multiculturalist’ expresses a normative response to this phenomenon. (Parekh 2000, p. 6).
Considering what Parekh has said, while multiculturalism refers to a “what is” that can be observed in many states today, multiculturalism points to a “must have” for all states that have more than one culture and ethnicity, and why states do such a thing. explains that it should adopt an understanding based on generally accepted principles, by presenting justifications.
The what-ought debate was expressed by the Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) with the phrase Is-Ought Question, and it is still one of the topics of discussion in the ethics of our century.
But we see that what is and what should be, especially in the field of politics, often do not fit together. This is also true for multiculturalism and multiculturalism, as we mentioned above. It is not surprising that humanity is faced with many problems such as assimilation, marginalization, exclusion of the other, and ethnic conflicts posing a threat to the order of societies, especially considering that it is monoculturalist politics that reveals multiculturalism as a reaction and that most Western states today tend to step back from multiculturalism. The origins of the marginalizing approach towards minority groups in multicultural societies come from a political understanding, namely racism, which became widespread in the 19th century and had a significant impact in the first half of the 20th century.
It is not obligatory for a multicultural society to always adopt a multicultural understanding of politics, but from a philosophical point of view, there is no harm in suggesting multiculturalism as an ideal idea for multicultural societies.