OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society

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OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 10 , No. 2

[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.26-50
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jul 2020
Received 25 Sep 2019 Revised 12 Dec 2019 Accepted 03 Jun 2020

Why We Still Need Multiculturalism: A Critical Review of Approaches to Cultural Accommodation
Gavin Hart
University of Huddersfield, UK


In the twenty first century we see an increasingly interconnected world with greater possibilities for the movement of people across national borders. Despite the rhetoric of nationalist politicians across the globe, migration will continue to be an important feature of contemporary societies in most of the advanced industrial economies. Furthermore, political questions related to sub-state nationalism remain an important part of the social landscape in many states. The question of how best to accommodate diversity has a significant history explored in a wide body of theoretical literature. Throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, the doctrine of multiculturalism became a common feature of approaches to diversity across the majority of liberal democratic states. More recently, multiculturalism has been the subject of a range of political and theoretical controversies. Critics suggest that this approach has the effect of dividing people into arbitrary categories, failing to promote real integration. This article contributes to this debate through carrying out a critical review of approaches to the accommodation of cultural diversity. It is argued that despite the appeal of other theoretical frameworks, that multiculturalism still represents the best all-round package to help us understand diversity and to accommodate difference in an equitable fashion.

Keywords: diversity, multiculturalism, interculturalism, assimilation, integration

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Biographical Note

Gavin Hart is a teaching assistant and early career researcher at the University of Huddersfield. He is affiliated with the Centre for Citizenship, Conflict, Identity and Diversity. His work focusses upon cultural pluralism, ethnic politics and inter-party positioning strategies. E-mail: