Cruelty and Conflict in Multiethnic Politics

Jacob T. Levy

in The Multiculturalism of Fear

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297123
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599767 | DOI:
Cruelty and Conflict in Multiethnic Politics

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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

Chapter.  12072 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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