Amartya Sen’s Identity Pluralism Applied to Will Kymlicka’s Liberal Multiculturalism

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
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Multicultural theory pays surprisingly little attention to the plurality of identity. In addition, there is still dissatisfaction with Will Kymlicka’s distinction between polyethnic groups and national minorities and the rights they deserve, as well as continued criticism of liberal multiculturalism more broadly. I revisit this distinction based on Amartya Sen’s recent effort to introduce the notion of identity pluralism into liberal debates. In Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 2006), Sen stresses the importance of maintaining political stability through individuals’ plural identities mainly in relation to religious divides and global conflict. Sen’s theory is criticised for being too abstract, but I interpret these abstract ideas to criticise Kymlicka’s distinction between polyethnic groups and national minorities and strengthen liberal multiculturalism. I argue that the notion of identity pluralism implies that a state must promote multicultural ‘participation rights’ for all minority identities, rather than ‘accommodation rights’ for polyethnic groups and ‘self-government rights’ for national minorities as Kymlicka contends. Consequently, regions like Quebec, Flanders and Catalonia would not merit the level of autonomy they currently enjoy, and Scotland should not be granted independence from the United Kingdom.

Amartya Sen’s Identity Pluralism Applied to Will Kymlicka’s Liberal Multiculturalism

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

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References

10

Kymlickasupra note 3; and subsequent works.

12

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 31 also p. 178; W. Kymlicka ‘Multiculturalism’ in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press Oxford 2002) pp. 346 352˗353.

13

W. Kymlicka‘Multiculturalism’ in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction2nd ed. (Oxford University Press Oxford 2002) p. 353.

15

Kymlickasupra note 13 p. 354 also p. 339; see also Kymlicka supra note 3 pp. 10−11 178; Berman et al.supra note 9 p. 60.

16

Sensupra note 6 p. 156.

20

Appiahsupra note 7 pp. 485−486.

21

Sensupra note 6 p. 11 also p. 12.

24

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 31 also pp. 96−97 177 and for a more elaborate discussion: pp. 114−115.

26

Sensupra note 6 pp. 153−154 162.

30

Kymlickasupra note 13 pp. 349˗350.

31

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 10 also pp. 11−12 27−28.

32

Kymlickasupra note 13 p. 350.

34

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 185; also Kymlicka supra note 13 p. 368.

35

Sensupra note 6 p. 21.

37

Sensupra note 6 pp. 11 46−49 118 165−169 177; see also K. Appiah ‘Identity Authenticity Survival: Multicultural Societies and Social Reproduction’ in C. Taylor Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (Princeton University Press Princeton 1994) pp. 152; Patricia Limerick ‘The Startling Ability of Culture to Bring Critical Inquiry to a Halt’ in L. Crothers and C. Lockhart (eds.) Culture and Politics: A Reader (St. Martin’s Press New York 2000) p. 74.

38

Sensupra note 6 pp. 178−179.

39

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 113.

45

Gallaghersupra note 7 p. 74.

46

Sensupra note 6 pp. 5 29−32 34−35 112 116−117 158−159.

49

Kymlickasupra note 3 pp. 76 79 83−85 101−105; W. Kymlicka ‘Do We Need a Liberal Theory of Minority Rights? Reply to Carens Young Parekh and Forst’ 4:1 Constellations (1997) pp. 75−6.

51

Sensupra note 6 p. 113; for examples of the changing prioritisation of identities see also R. Salih ‘The Backward and the New: National Transnational and Post-National Islam in Europe’ 30:5 Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Sept. 2004) pp. 995−1011.

52

Sensupra note 6 p. 113.

53

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 104.

54

Kymlickasupra note 28 p. 156; Kymlicka and He supra note 9 p. 46.

55

Sensupra note 6 pp. 131 133 145 148 182−183; A. Sen ‘Violence Identity and Poverty’ 45 Journal of Peace Research (2008) pp. 5−15.

56

Sensupra note 6 pp. 131−132.

60

Kymlickasupra note 13 pp. 333 367; similarly Nancy Fraser argues that states should pursue policies that combine concern for ‘recognition’ and ‘redistribution’ in N. Fraser ‘From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a “Postsocialist” Age’ Justice Interruptus (1997) <http://ethicalpolitics.org/blackwood/frazer.htm> visited on 30 December 2011.

63

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 12.

64

Graysupra note 7.

67

Kymlickasupra note 3 pp. 108−123; see also W. Kymlicka ‘Human Rights and Ethnocultural Justice’ Sixth J.C. Rees Memorial Lecture Presented at the Taliesin Theatre University of Wales Swansea 23 February 1998 (Department of Political Theory and Government Swansea 1998).

68

Kymlickasupra note 13 pp. 355−357; Kymlicka supra note 3 p. 21.

71

Kymlickasupra note 13 p. 368; Kymlicka supra note 3 p. 131; Kymlicka ‘Human Rights and Ethnocultural Justice’ supra note 67 p. 24.

72

Kymlickasupra note 3 p. 194.

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