Symposium on Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism: International Perspectives
Chair: John Berry
John Berry, Queen’s University, Canada, and Higher School of Economics, Russia
Nadya Lebedeva, Higher School of Economics, Russia
Colleen Ward, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Multiculturalism has many meanings, referring to:
(i) the presence in a society of many different ethnocultural groups (demographic diversity); (ii) the public response to this diversity (multiculturalism policies); and (iii) to peoples’ attitudes towards both the diversity and policy (multicultural ideology). In addition to these aspects of cultural diversity, multiculturalism also includes the presence of equity and participation by all in the larger society. Both diversity and equitable participation are essential for multiculturalism to exist. Without diversity, equity may lead to assimilation; without equity, diversity may lead to separation; the absence of both diversity and equity, marginalization is likely to exist. But with both diversity and equity, there is the opportunity to achieve multiculturalism. Research can be done that seeks to understand all these aspects, and provide a basis for managing intercultural relations in these diverse societies. Examples of such research from international studies are presented in this symposium.
Paper 1 - John Berry: “How Shall we all Live Together?"
Abstract: There is probably no more serious challenge to social stability and cohesion in the contemporary world than the management of intercultural relations within culturally plural societies. Successful management depends on many factors including a research-based understanding of the historical, political, economic, religious and psychological features of the groups that are in contact.
The concept of multiculturalism lies at the core of this understanding. This presentation examines three psychological hypotheses that have been derived from Canadian multiculturalism policy: multiculturalism, contact, and integration. The main goal of the project is to evaluate these three hypotheses across 17 culturally
plural societies in order to identify some basic psychological principles that may underlie successful intercultural relations. The eventual goal is to employ the findings to propose some multiculturalism policies and programmes that may improve the quality of intercultural relationship globally. The empirical findings in these 17 societies generally support the validity of the three hypotheses. Implications for the development of policies and programmes to enhance the quality of intercultural relations are discussed.
Paper 2 - Nadezhda Lebedeva: "After the Collapse of the USSR: Difficult Paths towards Multiculturalism"
Abstract: The period after the collapse of the USSR was ’collapse characterized by not only political and socio-economical changes ion post-communist space, but also by changes in values, identification and disidentification
with inclusive social categories, groups’ statuses and intercultural relations. Research in a variety of different post-communist countries, as well as in different multicultural regions of the Russian Federation, demonstrated very different paths towards the development of multicultural policy and practice and provide insights in the main problems that require psychological expertise and research. The task of n‘Nation-state’ building, and changes in majority-minority status became a common trend for many post-communist countries and regions in East Europe and Central Asia. These changes and bring new challenges and tasks for the development of a multicultural vision and the creation of a path for its adoption in different socio-political discourses and socio-cultural contexts.
Paper 3 - Colleen Ward: “Normative Multiculturalism in Socio-political Context”
Abstract: Popular and political discourse about multiculturalism has proclaimed it an abysmal failure in countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom and an apparent success in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This presentation unpacks multiculturalism by identifying its core characteristics in terms of diversity, ideology and policy and introducing a normative perspective that highlights the everyday experiences of diversity, the perceptions of a multicultural climate and the importance of socio-political context. Findings from an emerging program of research on normative multiculturalism, well-being and social cohesion in New Zealand, Great Britain and the United States are described, illustrating how multiculturalism impacts immigrants and members of the receiving society differently across these three contexts. Recommendations for future research are proposed and policy implications are discussed.