Do Policies of Multiculturalism Undermine National Identities by Helping Reshape Them?

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Scholars, politicians, and journalists often claim, in different ways, that policies of multiculturalism undermine national identities. In doing so, they are making an empirical claim which must be substantiated by empirical evidence in order to be thought of as true. But little or no evidence is usually offered. In this presentation I offer a hypothesis: that policies of multiculturalism do undermine national identities but by helping to change them. Indeed, I show why this hypothesis is not only theoretically plausible, but using new archival evidence about the Canadian Federal Government's policy of multiculturalism, I also show why it is empirically plausible in, at least, one instance.


Keywords: National Identities, Multiculturalism
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Varun Uberoi

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dept of Politics and International Relations
Oxford, UK

I obtained my D. Phil from the University of Oxford in February 2007. My doctorate identified a theoretical and practical means to foster unity amongst British citizens without assimilating cultural minorities and was a contribution to both political theory and political science. My research interests relate to the political theory and public policy of multiculturalism, nations and nationalism and citizenship and a selected list of my publications are: Uberoi, 'Making Multiculturalism & Nationhood Compatible', Canadian Diversity, 3:2, 2004; Uberoi, 'Social Unity in Britain', Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 33:1, 2007; Uberoi, The Canadian Constitution and Policy of Multiculturalism', Political Studies, Accepted & Forthcoming; Uberoi, Do Policies of Multiculturalism Undermine National Identities By Helping To Change Them', Political Quarterly, July 2008; Uberoi & I McLean, 'A Post Devoloution British National Identity', Political Quarterly, Accepted & Forthcoming.

Ref: I08P0683