Good and bad diversity: The Crises of Multiculturalism as a Crisis of Politics
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Good and bad diversity: The Crises of Multiculturalism as a Crisis of Politics

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  • - Post-2004 (but building on critique of MC going back to 1980s) the hegemonic discourse - uniting left and right - is that MC is a failed experiment leading societies, as Trevor Phillips put it. ‘sleepwalking to segregation’.\n\n- Pictures represent some of the themes that come under the crisis discourse that emerges.\n\n- The main themes include:\n\n+ MC creates ghettoisation, disintegration, lack of social cohesion, minority white cities, permits illiberal minorities the upper hand...\n\n+ Key moments: recently Anders Behring Breivik Utøya killings, 7/7 bombings, banlieues riots, cartoon controversy, Theo Van Gogh murder, Swiss Minarets, expulsion of the Roma from France/Italy, Merkel’s announcement of a crisis in the wake of Sarrazin, Cronulla riots (Australia), Hijab and burka bans, use of sexuality in creating opposition between liberal and illiberal societies (Fortuyn, Hirsi Ali)...\n\n+ Key responses: focus on national values (citizenship tests, ceremonies), action against ‘radicalisation’ (e.g. Prevent), return of ‘positive’ teaching of colonial past (Ferguson), Cameron and Merkel’s speeches, immediate focus on race post-riots.\n\nParadoxically these are culturalised responses to what is construed as a cultural problem.\n\n+ Key characters: US shock jocks, European equivalents (e.g. Melanie Phillips), Caldwell, nouveaux philosophes, ‘liberal’ journalists (Nick Cohen, Fallaci), and more complexly, Trevor Phillips, Ni putes ni soumises et compagnie, academics such as Joppke.\n\nIn ‘The crises of multiculturalism’ we theorise the assertion that MC if broken in terms of circuits of beliefs and recited truths, as mediated and mediating - in danger of happening here because it is happening elsewhere - so the need for ‘honest debates’ about Islam/Muslims/terrorism/burka even in countries (e.g. Finland) without 2 Muslims to rub together.\n\nThe spectre of ever-present danger is racialised and given human form as what an artist friend, Tobaron Waxman calls, ‘fear of a bearded planet’. \n\nI want to focus here on the discourse around the crisis of multiculturalism as one very real outcome of the post 9/11 consensus (not that critique of MC didn’t exist before) but now 9/11 acts to legitimise the dismantling of any (limited) gains of multiculturalism.\n\n
  • While the well-founded critique of MC policies as essentialising, often compounding communal hegemonies (e.g. patriarchal, heteronormative...) are well taken, the crisis of MC discourse needs to be seen as an attack not on prescriptive MC but on lived multiculture - the fact of ‘too much diversity’ (Goodhart).\n\nIt is a riff on the old story that blames different others for the ills of society at large.\n\nIndeed, the crisis of MC, post-racilism and racial neoloberalism, (inextricably linked processes) are the contemporary articulations of racism.\n\nHowever, because of the focus on culture rather than race, the charge of racism is both implicitly and sometimes explicitly denied.\n\n\n
  • The ‘crisis of MC’ is closely linked with the post-racial debate which has preceded it finding its most obvious articulation in the US.\n\nFor liberals, the election of Obama proves the end of racism, therefore allowing them to avoid the persistent questions of race and racism that continue to dog society. \n\nRight-wing and liberal opinion converges over post-race. For the right we are post-race because minorities are racist too - Obama being the ultimate example. Hence, the charge of racism coming from minorities, who are portrayed as being hegemonic, has become meaningless. If racism exists at all it is anti-white (e.g. affirmative action, Obama’s ‘socialist’ policies...)\n\nParallels in Europe: \n- Post-racial discourse relativises and rejects colonial history and associated crimes (Ferguson, French curriculum on Algeria).\n- e.g. of les ratonnades antiblancs.\n- New ‘integration tests’ in Netherlands or Germany - specifically targeting Muslims.\n\nIn sum, postracialism argues \n\n1. That racism was never as important as those who ‘make themselves into victims’ have claimed\n2. that there is a need to redress what is seen as minority hegemony by achieving the retreat of the state (US context) or recalibrating the state’s role e.g. by reinstating real antiracism (e.g. hegemony of focus on antisemitism, Nazism and rewriting Muslims as contemporary perpetrators of antisemitism - France, germany)\nOR by rolling back welfare to immigrants (Goodhart’s or Caldwell’s arguments).\n\nLiberals in Europe also take up the theme of the retreat of the state when they claim MC has failed\n\n\n
  • Goldberg’s idea of racial neoliberalism encapsulates the post-racial problem (esp. for the US).\n\nNeoliberalism as it pertains to race is based on the notion that the market, as the ultimate corrector, corrects racism\n\nSo, from the 1980s in the US, policy (e.g. TANF, welfare to work etc.) encourages ‘personal responsibility’ - system of sanctions imposed on the racialised poor who essentially could not assimilate middle class values \n\nLeads to Katrina like situation in which poor blacks are seen as unwilling to help themselves - no need for state responsibility.\n\n(Many other themes - e.g. prison industrial complex etc. which paper doesn’t permit)\n
  • Racial NL also has a strong cultural dimension mainly observable through the rise of ‘diversity’ as a way of not speaking about race and, more crucially, about racism.\n\nDiversity, as a replacement for MC, is acceptable even in places that have eschewed MC (e.g. France).\n\nWe speak of good and bad diversity.\n\nGood diversity adds color and uniqueness to neoliberalised society. The mantra of free choice allows everyone to choose from a smorgasbord of cultural offerings (culinary, music, style...).\n\nThis form of diversity speaks to the push for everyone to be unique (what is your USP?) - a type of bennetonization of society in which we are united, in the sense of being uniformed, in our diversity.\n\nBad diversity is where difference becomes excessive and where, crucially, is threatens to transform hegemonic political culture.\n\n\n
  • Caldwell’s chapati flour e.g. \n\nMuslims are seen not just as dangerous terrorists, but also because ‘radical’ Islam questions the dominance and ubiquity of materialist culture.\n
  • Diversity under neoliberalism is lived as management - the management of the balance between good (manageable) and bad (potentially uncontrollable) diversity.\n\nThis is acknowledged in the explicit coupling of the terms diversity and management, for example in human resources language.\n\nThe state, therefore, needs to retreat except as a mediator between the potentially threatening conflict between good and bad diversity (e.g. action on radicalisation).\n\nThe 2nd important point about diversity connects its situation in racial neoliberalism ti the post-racial moment and the critique of MC.\n\nInsisting on diversity dilutes the specificity of discriminations encapsulated by a particular focus on racism\n\nDiversity diverts the focus from what is portrayed as the negativity of a focus on racism - seen as divisive (e.g. campaign quote) in favour of a focus on what, it is purported, can unite us - we all feel we can be included in diversity, so no one is excluded or alienated by the angriness of antiracism. \n\nFurthermore and crucially, the messy problem of the persistence of white privilege does not have to be mentioned to be ‘against discrimination and for diversity’ (catchy EU campaign slogan).\n
  • Building on this analysis of the status quo on the so-called ‘crisis of multiculturalism’, I now want to argue that this can be seen within a wider framework that I am calling the culturalization of politics. \n
  • Zizek blames the culturalization of politics on those whom he calls ‘liberal multiculturalists’. \n\nWhile this reading is limiting in that it seems to accept the right-wing notion that MC is hegemonic, his basic point is that culture has become the dominant way of analysing problems that would previously have been seen as political, such as inequality, exploitation and power.\n\n[Time impedes me from going deeper into the fullness of Zizek’s argument - I do this in the paper].\n
  • 1. The culturalist frame which I am arguing dominates our view of social relations rhetoric not only essentialises individuals as belonging to ‘cultural groups’ - a common critique of MC - it also reifies culture itself to the exclusion of all other modes of explanation. \n\nVague invocations of the liberal do little to mask the fact that most critics of MC are in fact waging a ‘culture war’. This leads people like Caldwell to be able to say that “immigration is not enhancing or validating European culture; it is supplanting it.” \n\n2. So the problem is not with culture per se, but with its excess, an excess that is always to be found in an-Other culture. \n\n3. To counteract this excess, more of ‘our’ culture is needed. Hence, citizenship tests and ceremonies, calls for a return to ‘national values’ and so on.\nThe dominant culture is thus portrayed as neutral (almost cultureless - in the sense of raceless) while ‘other cultures’ are seen as ‘too cultural’.\n
  • 1. The culturalist frame which I am arguing dominates our view of social relations rhetoric not only essentialises individuals as belonging to ‘cultural groups’ - a common critique of MC - it also reifies culture itself to the exclusion of all other modes of explanation. \n\nVague invocations of the liberal do little to mask the fact that most critics of MC are in fact waging a ‘culture war’. This leads people like Caldwell to be able to say that “immigration is not enhancing or validating European culture; it is supplanting it.” \n\n2. So the problem is not with culture per se, but with its excess, an excess that is always to be found in an-Other culture. \n\n3. To counteract this excess, more of ‘our’ culture is needed. Hence, citizenship tests and ceremonies, calls for a return to ‘national values’ and so on.\nThe dominant culture is thus portrayed as neutral (almost cultureless - in the sense of raceless) while ‘other cultures’ are seen as ‘too cultural’.\n
  • 1. The culturalist frame which I am arguing dominates our view of social relations rhetoric not only essentialises individuals as belonging to ‘cultural groups’ - a common critique of MC - it also reifies culture itself to the exclusion of all other modes of explanation. \n\nVague invocations of the liberal do little to mask the fact that most critics of MC are in fact waging a ‘culture war’. This leads people like Caldwell to be able to say that “immigration is not enhancing or validating European culture; it is supplanting it.” \n\n2. So the problem is not with culture per se, but with its excess, an excess that is always to be found in an-Other culture. \n\n3. To counteract this excess, more of ‘our’ culture is needed. Hence, citizenship tests and ceremonies, calls for a return to ‘national values’ and so on.\nThe dominant culture is thus portrayed as neutral (almost cultureless - in the sense of raceless) while ‘other cultures’ are seen as ‘too cultural’.\n
  • 1. In essence, what is being opposed by the anti-multiculturalists is descriptive MC - or lived multiculture - the fact that our postcolonial, postimmigration societies are no longer (as though they ever were) culturally homogeneous.\n\n2. Prescriptive MC - or multicultural policies - are seen, not as top-down, but as imposed by minorities intent on having their cultural identity recognised.\n\nIn fact, as Paul Gilroy showed back in the late 1980s in the British case, an alliance of government and authoritarian community leaders installed MC policies as a means of reining in a burgeoning antiracist movement. \n\n3. Be that as it may, the fact today is that prescriptive and descriptive MC have become enmeshed, not only in the minds of those who oppose MC, but also for antiracists who today rush to defend it.\n\n
  • 1. In essence, what is being opposed by the anti-multiculturalists is descriptive MC - or lived multiculture - the fact that our postcolonial, postimmigration societies are no longer (as though they ever were) culturally homogeneous.\n\n2. Prescriptive MC - or multicultural policies - are seen, not as top-down, but as imposed by minorities intent on having their cultural identity recognised.\n\nIn fact, as Paul Gilroy showed back in the late 1980s in the British case, an alliance of government and authoritarian community leaders installed MC policies as a means of reining in a burgeoning antiracist movement. \n\n3. Be that as it may, the fact today is that prescriptive and descriptive MC have become enmeshed, not only in the minds of those who oppose MC, but also for antiracists who today rush to defend it.\n\n
  • 1. In essence, what is being opposed by the anti-multiculturalists is descriptive MC - or lived multiculture - the fact that our postcolonial, postimmigration societies are no longer (as though they ever were) culturally homogeneous.\n\n2. Prescriptive MC - or multicultural policies - are seen, not as top-down, but as imposed by minorities intent on having their cultural identity recognised.\n\nIn fact, as Paul Gilroy showed back in the late 1980s in the British case, an alliance of government and authoritarian community leaders installed MC policies as a means of reining in a burgeoning antiracist movement. \n\n3. Be that as it may, the fact today is that prescriptive and descriptive MC have become enmeshed, not only in the minds of those who oppose MC, but also for antiracists who today rush to defend it.\n\n
  • For Yudice, cultural power has created a ‘fantastical space’ in which all marginalised groups are equivalent to each other and can be “visibly represented as parallel forms of identity.”\n\nThis of course skips over the obvious uneven power relations that do in fact exist between groups, such as perhaps between middle class white homosexuals and working class black women.\n\n1. The problem arises for MC when those who perceive themselves to have been left out of this fantastical space - the previously unproblematised majority - now wish to be included in it. \n\nThey now want to assert their culture too. But they do not see their culture as equivalent to that of the marginalised. It is superior because it comes with a greater sense of entitlement.\n\n2. Arjun Appadurai argues that this is in large part a response to globalisation against which the ‘fiction of the ethnos’ seeks to assert itself. But because of the ephemeral nature of globalisation, anger is directed against minorities within states who are seen as having usurped ‘our’ cultural hegemony.\n\nThis is why where we can observe the culturalisation of politics most acutely is in the solutions being proposed to the problems caused by the excess of diversity. \n\nFor example, the banning of the hijab in French schools and public buildings is presented as being based on universal principles which, far from being truly universalist, are presented as culturally French.\n
  • For Yudice, cultural power has created a ‘fantastical space’ in which all marginalised groups are equivalent to each other and can be “visibly represented as parallel forms of identity.”\n\nThis of course skips over the obvious uneven power relations that do in fact exist between groups, such as perhaps between middle class white homosexuals and working class black women.\n\n1. The problem arises for MC when those who perceive themselves to have been left out of this fantastical space - the previously unproblematised majority - now wish to be included in it. \n\nThey now want to assert their culture too. But they do not see their culture as equivalent to that of the marginalised. It is superior because it comes with a greater sense of entitlement.\n\n2. Arjun Appadurai argues that this is in large part a response to globalisation against which the ‘fiction of the ethnos’ seeks to assert itself. But because of the ephemeral nature of globalisation, anger is directed against minorities within states who are seen as having usurped ‘our’ cultural hegemony.\n\nThis is why where we can observe the culturalisation of politics most acutely is in the solutions being proposed to the problems caused by the excess of diversity. \n\nFor example, the banning of the hijab in French schools and public buildings is presented as being based on universal principles which, far from being truly universalist, are presented as culturally French.\n
  • The final part of my argument brings us back to race - and racism.\n\n1. Just as culturalism should not be seen as radical break with racism, neither should culture in the way it is used to reference ‘different others’ be seen as radically different to race. They are both ways of ordering and dividing people.\n\n2. Culturalization can be seen as continuous to racialization because both are involved in what Jasbir Puar refers to as ‘the management of life’. \n\nEssentially, whether you name the difference you oppose racial or cultural does not matter to the way the person on the receiving end of that naming perceives it.\n
  • The final part of my argument brings us back to race - and racism.\n\n1. Just as culturalism should not be seen as radical break with racism, neither should culture in the way it is used to reference ‘different others’ be seen as radically different to race. They are both ways of ordering and dividing people.\n\n2. Culturalization can be seen as continuous to racialization because both are involved in what Jasbir Puar refers to as ‘the management of life’. \n\nEssentially, whether you name the difference you oppose racial or cultural does not matter to the way the person on the receiving end of that naming perceives it.\n
  • When Christopher Caldwell falsely claims that “Muslims now either dominate or vie for domination of certain important European cities” (2009: 96) and that “Europe finds itself in a contest with Islam for the allegiance of its newcomers” (ibid.: 286), he is mobilising the language of race war identified by Foucault. \n\nWhether or not Muslims are conceived as genetically or culturally incompatible is irrelevant to the choices made about how to deal with them. \n\nSimilarly, when governments propose a ‘return’ to national values as a response to so-called self-segregation, isn’t what they are advocating a regularisation of society according to the logic of ‘cultural power’? \n\nIsn’t the concern with the lack of social cohesion inscribed in the same logic as fear for the fitness of the race nation? \n\nIf we accept that the two discourses bear similarities at least, we have to ask what purpose would cultural uniformity have and at what cost should it be achieved? The effect of these considerations on politics is as important as it was in the 19th century. The surety with which the need for cultural compatibility is being expressed today denies the negotiation, challenge and conflict which is essential to politics. It is in this sense that the post-racial, post-multicultural moment is also a post-political one. It remains to be seen whether the force of difference can adequately resist the power of regulation.\n\n

Good and bad diversity: The Crises of Multiculturalism as a Crisis of Politics Good and bad diversity: The Crises of Multiculturalism as a Crisis of Politics Presentation Transcript

  • GOOD AND BAD DIVERSITY:THE CRISES OF MULTICULTURALISM AS A CRISIS OF POLITICS
  • THE CRISES OF(WITH GAVAN TITLEY, ZED BOOKS, 2011
  • OVERVIEW
  • OVERVIEWToday, ‘racial neoliberalism’, incorporatingpost-racialism, is the dominant mode inwhich racism finds discursive expression.
  • OVERVIEWToday, ‘racial neoliberalism’, incorporatingpost-racialism, is the dominant mode inwhich racism finds discursive expression.The debate on multiculturalism is inscribedin a post-racial logic.
  • OVERVIEWToday, ‘racial neoliberalism’, incorporatingpost-racialism, is the dominant mode inwhich racism finds discursive expression.The debate on multiculturalism is inscribedin a post-racial logic.The ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ is thecontemporary articulation of racism.
  • BACKGROUND
  • TOO DIVERSE: THE REAL PROBLEM WITH Entropa Installation: The Netherlands is seen as series of minarets submerged by a flood
  • TOO DIVERSE: THE REAL PROBLEM WITH “Nas @43 where have I mentioned the word ‘genetics’ or the word ‘race’? My problem is with Somali culture not Somali genes.” Entropa Installation: The Netherlands is seen as series of minarets submerged by a flood CAULDRON — ON 21ST AUGUST, 2009
  • I’M NOT BEING
  • I’M NOT BEING“And the libs, of course, say thatminorities cannot be racistsbecause they dont have thepower to implement their racism.Well, those days are gone,because reverse racists certainlydo have the power to implementtheir power. Obama is thegreatest living example of areverse racist, and now hesappointed one.”
  • NEOLIBERALIZING
  • NEOLIBERALIZING “Neoliberal governance has no ideological intent with regards to race... [N]eoliberalism does not invest ideologically in racism, be it the overt racism of the far or new right or the colourblind consensus favoured by neoconservatives. State neoliberalism governmentalizes, but it does not always do so in consistent terms, borrowing instead from a range of discourses, histories and practices. Thus, racialized populations are both subject to greater discipline and control while being spoken about in terms that borrow from the language of civil rights and identity politics.” THE CRISES OF MULTOCULTURALISM (LENTIN & TITLEY)
  • GOOD & BAD
  • GOOD & BAD“In the European shift to theprivatization of race, the shiftingborder between good diversity,requiring celebration andcultivation, and bad diversity,diverse matter recognized as ofout place, is central tounderstanding a particularlyinfluential inflection ofantiracialism. How can there beracism when the officialcommitment to diversity is somanifest, and so mediated?” THE CRISES OF
  • ‘Europeans know more about Arabic calligraphy and kente cloth because they know less about Montaigne and Goethe. If the spread of Pakistani cuisine is the single greatest improvement in British public life over the past half- century, it is also worth noting that the bombs used for the failed London transport attacks of July 21, 2005, were made from a mix of hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour. Immigration is not enhancing or validating European culture; it is supplanting it‘
  • MANAGING DIVERSITY
  • MANAGING DIVERSITY ‘The celebration of diversity, as an added value, is crucial today in a Europe which is a diverse continent. Learning more about each other is an enriching experience that usually leads someone to a greater sensitivity and understanding of others. That is why diversity is essential to ensure Europe’s cohesion’’ EURIPEAN YOUTH FORUM (2007)
  • CULTURALIZED
  • CULTURALIZED“The communicationlecturer, who was there,blurted out that infamousremark: ‘When I go toMorocco and I go into aMosque, I take off myshoes, so you can take offyour veil!’. I am so used tohearing this remark that Iquickly respond, ‘Goodfor you, but excuse me, Iam French, I have myrights and you cannotdeny them.”FATIMA (20) IN LES FILLES
  • CULTURALIZED Martin Parr, New Brighton, 1985
  • CULTURALIZEDPolitics are culturalizedwhen“difference conditionedby political inequality oreconomic exploitation arenaturalised andneutralised into ‘cultural’differences, that is intodifferent ‘ways of life’which are somethinggiven, something that Martin Parr, New Brighton, 1985
  • CULTURAL SOLUTIONS TO
  • CULTURAL SOLUTIONS TOThe ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ rhetoric isitself mired in culturalism.
  • CULTURAL SOLUTIONS TOThe ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ rhetoric isitself mired in culturalism.The problem is not with culture per se butwith its excess, always to be only found inan-Other’s culture.
  • CULTURAL SOLUTIONS TOThe ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ rhetoric isitself mired in culturalism.The problem is not with culture per se butwith its excess, always to be only found inan-Other’s culture.Therefore, the call is for more of ‘our’culture.
  • OPPOSITION TOMULTICULTURALISM & THE
  • OPPOSITION TOMULTICULTURALISM & THEMinorities have been blamed forimposing multiculturalism.
  • OPPOSITION TOMULTICULTURALISM & THEMinorities have been blamed forimposing multiculturalism.But prescriptive multiculturalismwas imposed by elites andcommunity leaders to suppressthe burgeoning antiracistmovement in the 1980s.
  • OPPOSITION TOMULTICULTURALISM & THEMinorities have been blamed forimposing multiculturalism.But prescriptive multiculturalismwas imposed by elites andcommunity leaders to suppressthe burgeoning antiracistmovement in the 1980s.The attack on antiracism leftactivists bereft of a vocabulary,hence antiracism andmulticulturalism are sometimesconfused even by activists
  • INCLUDE ME
  • INCLUDE METhose left out of the ‘fanatasticalspace’ of identity now want to beincluded in it by asserting theirown culture or identity.
  • INCLUDE METhose left out of the ‘fanatasticalspace’ of identity now want to beincluded in it by asserting theirown culture or identity.In an era of hegemonicglobalization, the ‘fiction of theethnos’ has become a culturalresource for the performance offull sovereignty. ARJUN APPADURAI
  • BACK TO RACE
  • BACK TO RACEPolitically, the concept of culture is notdissociable from that of race.
  • BACK TO RACEPolitically, the concept of culture is notdissociable from that of race.Both culturalization and racialization areimbricated in the disciplining of non-normative bodies by the state and themarket.
  • CONCLUSION
  • CONCLUSION“Why is a book that makes youashamed for its author, evenoccasionally ashamed to bereading it, still worth reading?Because for all its bigotry andparanoia, all of its ill-informeddismissal of Islamic history andculture, “The Rage and thePride” is a bracing response tothe moral equivocation, themulti-culti political correctness,the minimization and denial ofthe danger of Islamo-fascismthat dogs the response to Sept.11 and to the ongoing war on